With a hung Assembly appearing a distinct possibility in Delhi, the onus would fall on the Bharatiya Janata Party -- in all likelihood the single largest party as per current trends from leads -- to cobble together a coalition government.
Problem is, unless there are willing Independents or smaller parties' MLAs to rope in, and if the Aam Aadmi Party stays committed not allying with either the Congress or the BJP, Delhi would fall under President's rule until a re-election is ordered and held. In such a scenario, fresh elections would have to be held within six months, something that Congress backroom managers would surely be thinking about right now.
Lt Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, will first invite the leader of the BJP in the Assembly, Dr Harsh Vardhan, to explore the formation of a government even if they fall short of the halfway mark.
Incidentally, the Congress, BJP and AAP have all declared that they will not form post-poll alliances with one another.
The only thing that could then stop President's Rule in Delhi will be the BJP finding Independents or MLAs from other parties to help them make up the numbers. Now, only one Independent is leading comfortably, leaving the BJP still short by three MLAs. (The party is currently leading in 32 seats.)
Wooing MLAs from the AAP is a clear option. Normally, to avoid inviting clauses of the anti-defection laws, at least one third the number of elected MLAs of any one party would have to cross over, hus defining it as a 'merger' as opposed to a 'defection'. Needless to say, the AAP will be watching its MLAs closely -- because as the AAP is still to get formal recognition from the EC, the anti-defection laws may not apply.
Wooing MLAs from the Congress is an option too -- with about nine MLAs to be the Congress Legislature Party in Delhi, defection by one third will be just enough for the BJP, and will not invite clauses of anti-defection law either.
If a re-election is to be ordered, it will in all likelihood be held along with the Lok Sabha election in April-May 2014.
Under President's Rule in Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor becomes the executive head of the government and has the power to appoint a group of advisors who act as his team of ministers. The Assembly remains open during this period to political parties forging a coalition.
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Updated Date: Dec 08, 2013 14:21:39 IST