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Ready for assembly election in Delhi: Harsh Vardhan

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-05-2014 PTI

New Delhi: Upbeat over party’s spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha polls, Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said the party was ready for assembly election in the city “anytime soon” and exuded confidence of getting a clear majority.

Fifty nine-year-old Vardhan made it amply clear that BJP will not try to form a government in Delhi by resorting to any sort of “manipulation” and would wait for election to get a “clear mandate” to rule the city.

“We are ready for fresh election for the legislative assembly. I think election should be held at the earliest. I am confident that people of Delhi will give us a clear majority when polls are held,” he told PTI in an interview.

BJP recorded a landslide victory in Lok Sabha election in the city emerging victorious in all seven seats with huge margins ranging from over one lakh to 2.6 lakh votes. BJP’s vote share in Lok Sabha polls in the city had also jumped to 46.1% from 33.07% in the assembly polls. Vardhan himself won from prestigious Chandni Chowk parliamentary seat by a margin of over 1.35 lakh votes.

Favouring early assembly election, Vardhan said polls will have to be held within next eight months as President’s Rule cannot continue beyond one year. Central rule was imposed in Delhi on 17 February and the legislative assembly was kept in suspended animation after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had resigned.

A number of party’s Delhi leaders indicated that the Narendra Modi-led government may opt for early assembly election in Delhi. Any decision on dissolving the assembly will have to be taken by Union cabinet.

Vardhan said his earlier stand of not forming the government due to lack of majority has not changed.

“We will not try to form government through unfair means. Our earlier stand on not forming the government has not changed. We do not have the numbers and will not resort to any manipulation,” he said.

BJP, along with its ally Akali Dal’s one seat, had support of 32 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) in the 70-member House. However, BJP’s strength will come down to 28 as three sitting MLAs, Vardhan, Pervesh Verma and Ramesh Bidhuri have been elected as members of Parliament (MPs).

AAP won 28 seats followed by Congress with eight. Janata Dal (United) had won one seat while one seat had gone to an Independent.

Vardhan’s remarks came as AAP MLAs mooted a proposal for the party to once again form the government in Delhi, with outside support. At a meeting of its top leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, some AAP legislators, who claimed to be around 20 in number, are said to have conveyed to the leadership that the party should make a fresh attempt at forming the government.

Sources said party MLA Rajesh Garg mooted the idea while describing Kejriwal’s decision to resign in February after 49 days in power as one of the major reasons behind AAP’s poor showing in the city in Lok Sabha polls.

Vardhan said any decision on holding of assembly polls in Delhi will have to be taken by the new government at the Centre.

“We are battle ready. We are prepared for election even after one week. This time BJP will gain decisive mandate,” he said while attacking AAP for running away from the government.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had resigned on 14 February after suffering a defeat in the assembly on the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Thanking people of Delhi for “whole-heartedly” supporting BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, Vardhan said the AAP could not win a single seat as it was “exposed” during its 49-day rule.

“People rejected both AAP and Congress. They supported us as we have a positive agenda,” he said.

Asked whether he will remain party’s chief ministerial candidate in case of fresh election, Vardhan said the party leadership will take the final decision.

“The party leadership will take a decision on the issue,” he said.

Senior Delhi BJP leaders said Vardhan’s clean image has helped the party improve its vote share and give a tough fight to both the AAP and Congress. Vardhan was anointed party’s chief ministerial candidate just a month before the Delhi assembly polls in December 2013. PTI

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