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NEW DELHI (TIP): The race to form the government in Delhi heated up after both the BJP and the AAP indicated that they were ready to stake claim. A day after the BJP suggested that it could form a government in Delhi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal sought an appointment with Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung. Kejriwal tweeted: “I have sought an appointment from LG for all AAP MLAs to meet him today. Waiting for his response.” Satish Upadhyay, the new president of the BJP in Delhi, told the media Wednesday that his party could consider government formation if Najeeb Jung gave an invitation.

“We might consider it,” he said in brief remarks as speculation mounted that the political logjam in the capital might soon end. “We will decide when the time comes,” added Jagdish Mukhi, a senior BJP leader after a meeting of party legislators. Kejriwal, who quit as chief minister of Delhi Feb 14 after 49 days in power, tweeted: “Can LG invite a party to form government without prima facie satisfying himself whether the party has numbers?” Kejriwal had led the AAP to a stunning victory in last year’s Delhi assembly election and had formed the government with Congress backing.

In another tweet, Kejriwal said: “Would LG encourage horse trading if he invites a party to form government despite knowing that they don’t have number?” Kejriwal also questioned whether Jung can invite the BJP, which has earlier declined to form the government. “If a party (BJP) has once already declined the offer to form government – can the LG invite the same party in the existing Vidhan Sabha again?” he said. The BJP won 31 of the 70 seats in the December 2013 assembly election in Delhi and the Aam Aadmi Party 28, ousting the Congress, which got only eight seats after being in power for 15 long years. Three of the 31 BJP legislators in Delhi were elected in May to the Lok Sabha, bringing down its tally in the assembly to 28. The AAP’s strength is 27 after one of its legislators broke away months ago.

It is not clear how the BJP hopes to form a government. It enjoys the support of an Akali Dal member. It will still need the backing of at least five legislators for a simple majority in the assembly whose effective strength now is 67. BJP sources seem confident that they will get the numbers, primarily from a demoralized Congress. “There is nothing we can do if people want to leave the party,” a senior Congress leader said. However, Arvinder Singh Lovely, who heads the Congress in Delhi, insisted that no Congress legislator would go with the BJP or AAP. Another Congress legislator, however, admitted on the condition of anonymity that some in his party were in touch with the AAP which they see as a better bet vis-avis the BJP.

A senior AAP leader admitted that there had been talks of government formation between the AAP and Congress legislators. The AAP, which has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking fresh elections, feels that it will make a move towards government formation only if it is sure that the Congress will back it once again. Kejriwal has admitted that he made a mistake in resigning, and some AAP legislators have pleaded with him to explore the chances of again forming a government.

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