5:39 am - Wednesday January 16, 2019

Delhi L-G Jung recommends dissolution of assembly, fresh elections likely in Jan-Feb

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L-G Jung made the recommendation in a report on the latest political situation submitted to the President. Jung had held meetings with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday evening where all the parties said they were in favour of fresh elections.

BJP leaders will hold a meeting in the afternoon to chalk out their strategy for the fresh elections. The saffron party is likely to have an edge in Delhi following its impressive win in the Lok Sabha elections — it won  all seven seats in the national capital — and its successes in the recent assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra.

Delhi has been under the President’s Rule since February following the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government’s resignation after 49 days in office.

The BJP and its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have 29 MLAs in the 70-member House, down from 32 after three legislators were elected to the Lok Sabha. The AAP has 27 members, and the Congress eight.

BJP sources said they want to go for fresh elections in February and form a government with a clear majority. A BJP delegation led by its Delhi president, Satish Upadhyay, and senior leader and MLA Jagdish Mukhi were the first to meet Jung on Monday.

“We have made our stand clear to the lieutenant governor. Our party has been maintaining since the beginning that we will not indulge in any kind of manipulation,” said Upadhyay.

Congress legislator Haroon Yusuf also told Jung that his party wanted the Delhi assembly dissolved. “We have been consistent on our stand that no party has numbers to give a stable government in Delhi and this is what we told the L-G also. We recommended that the house should immediately be dissolved and fresh elections be announced in the Capital,” he told reporters after meeting Jung.

While speculation about Congress MLAs breaking away from the party to support the AAP and BJP was rife, the Congress party managed to keep its flock together in the past few months.

The AAP, which has repeatedly accused the BJP of trying to poach its legislators to form the government in Delhi, reiterated it was in favour of elections.

“Our stand is what it was eight months ago. We want the Delhi assembly to be dissolved,” said AAP leader Manish Sisodia  after meeting Jung along with Kejriwal.
Elections likely in Jan-Feb

Meanwhile, the EC sources ruled out the possibility of holding elections for 70-member Delhi elections with that of Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

“I don’t think that can happen,” an EC functionary said, adding that it needs to do some ground work before announcing elections in a state. “We don’t have enough time to do the background work for holding Delhi polls with the two states.”

The polls in the two states are being held in five-phases and counting of votes will take place on December 23.

Time is a constraint because the Supreme Court’s had prescribed a mechanism, according to which, the gap between announcement of polls and vote should be about 40 days.

And before making the announcement the Election Commission has to give time to the Chief Electoral Officer to update electoral rolls, notify returning officers and prepare election management plan. “We also have to give some time to the political parties to prepare for polls and consult them,” an EC official explained.

Once the EC receives the notification from the government on dissolution of the Delhi assembly, it will formally start the consultation process for conducting polls with the government bodies and the political parties, the commission sources said. The notification will be issued by President once L-G recommends dissolution of the assembly.

The elections are expected to be held in end January or early February before the President’s rule comes to an end in the Capital. The government believes that holding the elections during that period would be conducive as the January chill in the Capital will ease out.


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