BJP eager to form Delhi govt; AAP quick to allege horse-trading

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday gave strong indications that it is keen to form a government in Delhi if invited to do so by Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, has decided to soon appoint a new legislative party leader.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said that a decision in this regard would be taken after consulting all the party leaders; but all reports suggest that senior MLA Jagdish Mukhi would be the new party leader in the assembly and thus the natural candidate for chief ministership.

''The party has already appointed a new party president and state unit chief, so the next logical step would be to appoint a legislative party leader. A decision in this regard will be taken very soon,'' said Upadhyay.

The party is apparently confident of getting the support of the required number of MLAs from other parties, with reports suggesting that government formation in Delhi could hinge on a group of Congress MLAs breaking away to support a BJP government to avoid fresh assembly polls.

After a meeting with party legislators, Upadhyay said the party will consider forming a government if invited.

 "We will consider it (formation of government) provided Lt Governor Najeeb Jung calls us," he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the party will take a final call on the issue.

He held a separate meeting with all seven party MPs from Delhi on Tuesday to learn their views on whether BJP should try to form a government in Delhi or prefer fresh polls.

Satish Upadhyay's appointment as Delhi unit president has prompted hectic activity in the party. In Wednesday's meeting, a majority of the MLAs were in favour of the party forming the government.

The BJP had won 31 seats in the assembly polls in December last year but its number came down to 28 in the 70-member house after three of its legislators - Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma - were elected to Lok Sabha.

Harsh Vardhan would have been the natural choice for legislative party leader, but he is now a member of the union government.

Arivind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party immediately reacted to the developments, saying the BJP is trying to "buy" its MLAs and engaging in horse-trading.

AAP leader Ashutosh said, ''The way the BJP is trying to buy the members of other parties is a crime.

"BJP is known for horse trading MLAs, be it in Karnataka or Kalyan Singh Government in UP or Keshubhai Patel in Gujarat."