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Amid BJP-AAP tussle, SC gives a month to end Delhi stalemate

Amid BJP-AAP tussle, SC gives a month to end Delhi stalemate

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday gave the central government a month to end the deadlock over government formation in Delhi, even as AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal vowed not to let the BJP take power using "unfair means".

The former chief minister also said his party was in touch with the Congress and other legislators in the splintered 70-seat assembly to block the Bharatiya Janata Party from forming a government.

He said he would meet Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung Wednesday and urge him to "revise" his Sep 4 letter to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking permission to invite the BJP to form a "stable government" - and prove its majority in the house within a week.

The constitution bench of Chief Justice-designate Justice H.L. Dattu and Justices J. Chelameswar, A.K. Sikri, A.K. Agrawal and Arun Mishra gave the government till Oct 10 - the next date of hearing -- to resolve a raging political deadlock.

The ruling came after Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narsimha told the court that Jung had written to the president indicating his preference for the BJP, which has 28 seats in the assembly, just one more than AAP.

"I shall be grateful if the president grants approval to invite the BJP, even today the single largest party in the legislature, to (explore) their interest in forming the government," Jung said in his letter made public Tuesday.

The apex court told the central government to inform it about the president's decision.

The Delhi assembly was placed under suspended animation after the Aam Aadmi Party government resigned in February, ending 49 days of governance by Kejriwal.

The AAP is insisting on fresh elections, underlining that no single party enjoyed legislative majority in the assembly to form a government.

The impasse in the capital got sullied Monday when the AAP released a covertly shot video showing a BJP leader - since pulled up by the party - offering money to an AAP legislator to resign from the assembly.

Kejriwal threatened to release more such videos at the "appropriate time".

Addressing the media in Ghaziabad Tuesday, he said his party was talking to the Congress -- which had supported his minority government before withdrawing support -- and independent legislators in the assembly whose effective strength now is 67.

"AAP is in touch with all the parties. We are in touch with Rambeer Shokeen, Shoaib Iqbal, Vinod Kumar Binny and the Congress MLAs to prevent the BJP from forming a government using unfair means," he said.

While Shokeen is an independent legislator, Iqbal is from the Janata Dal-United. Binny was elected on AAP ticket but was later expelled.

Kejriwal alluded that the BJP feared elections.

"Why is the BJP scared of fresh elections if they are so confident of winning? It is important for us to stop them from indulging in manipulative politics."

He said the AAP would seek the Election Commission's intervention.

The BJP defended Jung's letter to the president.

"The LG is following the constitutional process by inviting the single largest party to form the government," said Satish Upadhyay, president of the Delhi BJP.

"If and when we get the invite, we will critically analyse our strength," he said.

The BJP now has 28 legislators after three got elected to the Lok Sabha.
The AAP has 27 and the Congress eight.

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