As confusion prevails over government formation in the national capital, the Delhi unit of the BJP is gearing up for fresh polls – possibly in February – buoyed by the party’s impressive showing in Haryana and Maharashtra after the resounding Lok Sabha verdict, sources say.
According to a senior party leader, the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party is positive of winning a comfortable majority in Delhi, courtesy the stellar performance in the Lok Sabha and state elections, coupled with the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The state leaders have, therefore, been directed to start preparing for fresh polls.
“The recent cuts in fuel prices, campaigns launched by the PM and even the treatment meted out to Pakistan when it violated the ceasefire (in Jammu and Kashmir) have had an effect on the people. All this will help us when we go out asking for votes,” a party leader privy to information told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We are in the centre and have done well in the state elections. It shows the mood of the nation and the party is positive that this will have an effect in Delhi too. Hence, we are bracing ourselves for a re-election, possibly in February,” he added.
The national capital has been without an elected government since February, when the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government quit.
The Delhi assembly has been in suspended animation and the single largest party, the BJP, has often been accused, especially by the Aam Aadmi Party chief, of horse-trading to form a government.
The BJP leader dismissed the allegation and instead mocked at the AAP for its decline in popularity over time. “We know we don’t have the required numbers to form the government but we are not talking to other MLAs. Why would we take any step (horse-trading) that might hurt our image especially when we know that polls are round the corner,” he asked.
“Moreover, things have changed drastically in the last 10 months and AAP’s popularity has been on a steady decline. If we managed to get 32 seats last time despite the so called AAP wave, we will easily get a clear majority this time,” he added.
The BJP had won 31 of the 70 seats in the assembly elections held in December, 2013, which threw up a fractured mandate. It also has the support of a lone Akali Dal legislator.
Three of the BJP legislators were elected to the Lok Sabha in the national election in April-May, bringing down the effective strength of the assembly to 67.
The BJP’s tally also got reduced to 28 from 31 but with by-polls set for Nov 25, the party is confident of retaining these seats.
“We are not facing a genuine fight on these seats from the Congress and AAP. We are confident of winning them. The results will also set the tone for fresh polls, possibly in February next year,” another senior BJP leader of the state unit told IANS.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has said that he would meet all party leaders to discuss the possibility of government formation in the capital in a few days after the Supreme Court upbraided the BJP-led central government for not being sincere in ensuring a new government in Delhi, which has been under President’s Rule since Feb 17.
After expelling Vinod Kumar Binny from the party, the AAP is left with 27 legislators. The Congress has eight legislators. There is one independent legislator and one from the Janata Dal-United.