Psychologically BJP has already lost half the battle to the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Delhi. How and why this was allowed to happen is inexplicable. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Chief Minister of Delhi on February 14. His party had emerged as the second largest party in the December assembly poll. BJP narrowly became the largest party but without a majority. After the parliamentary poll the BJP emerged with a single parliamentary majority amidst a much hyped Modi wave. It won all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi. Why did it not immediately dissolve the Delhi assembly and order polls?
Was it because the spectacular result was as much due to a strong anti-incumbency wave against Congress as it was for being a pro-Modi wave? BJP swept the polls wherever Congress was the main opponent. But regional parties performed likewise against the Congress. In this year’s forthcoming assembly polls in four states the BJP will face a challenge from regional parties in Haryana, Kashmir and Jharkhand. The prospect of being able to ride piggy back on regional allies in these states, as it can in Maharashtra, is remote. But a simultaneous assembly election in Delhi would be the real litmus test for the Modi government.
Delhi is mini-India. BJP won all parliamentary seats in May. AAP lost much of its sheen after Mr. Kejriwal’s resignation as CM. Has opinion swung back to AAP in Delhi so soon after the Modi government assumed power in May? That seems to be the BJP’s own fear as it inexplicably evades dissolution of the assembly to order fresh polls.
The BJP lack of self confidence was embarrassingly exposed. AAP filed a petition in the Supreme Court (SC) questioning why polls were not ordered when no party could form the government in Delhi. The SC gave a sharp snub to the central government questioning how elected MLAs could sit idle on the tax payer’s money. It issued notice till September 9 when government must appear before it to explain how the present deadlock will end. The BJP is now mulling over its response.
BJP has three choices. It can extend President’s Rule up to a year to evade elections. That will invite nationwide ridicule. It can order Delhi polls with the four other states later this year. Or it can attempt to form a government to avoid elections through defections. One would have thought the BJP response would be swift. It would order fresh polls. Reportedly even the RSS is leaning on the party to hold elections. But the party itself remains divided. Some sections still think of somehow forming a government in Delhi despite all the taunts leveled by AAP leaders.
Senior BJP leader Mr. Arun Jaitley informed parliament that “some political solution would soon emerge paving the way for a popular government in Delhi”. Apart from elections what other solution exists? Unless the Modi-Amit Shah team decides that winning defections is easier than winning elections! Where is the Modi wave?