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An idea to solve the hung assembly in Delhi

Parties should work together to avoid president’s rule in Delhi, especially after such a vibrant election campaign. May be top two parties can force reelection in fraction of seats where margins were small.

As we witness a fierce competition to sit in the Opposition benches of Delhi assembly, psyche of our politicians is difficult to comprehend. This election has once again shown what votes can do. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal certainly broke new grounds with a focused campaign against Sheila Dikshit’s government. The results, of course, reflect all their hard work. But voters did not give complete majority to any party.  BJP emerged as largest party, but short of 4 MLAs while AAP needs 8 more to reach the magic number of 36. If it was any other election, this may not have been an issue. However, this is an election with heavy focus on honesty, a clean image and transparency among other moral issues. So, to think that the BJP will resort to same old tactics might be wrong this time. With 2014 Lok Sabha elections round the corner, why would they risk?

There is news of Congress’ open invite for outside support to AAP, and then there is a coalition option, power sharing agreements etc. So far BJP and AAP have been tight on not opting for any of these. Does that mean that the Delhi voters, after such a vibrant election season, will get President’s rule for the next 6 months and have to witness assembly elections again? Other than commonly heard ideas, are there any new ones to solve this impasse?

How about if AAP and BJP agree to go for reelection on 8 (or some other number around this) constituencies where these parties were at the first or second position? This is not a complete assembly reelection, so Election Commission should be able to arrange it much faster. AAP can start the conversation. If BJP truly believes that the ‘wave’ is towards them, it will take up this offer. There can be several ways to select these 8 or 9 constituencies. There are 17 constituencies now (9 won by AAP and 8 by BJP) which have a victory margin below 10 percent. Both parties can come up with 8 from this lot.

Second method is for parties to ask for volunteer MLAs. It would not be a good idea for Dr Harshvardhan, Mr Kejriwal or the likes to volunteer here. The concept of Dharma Yuddha will automatically apply in such circumstances. Those MLAs will resign immediately; Delhi will get an opportunity to decide the full majority. I do not think there is any issue with constitutionality of this idea. If there is hung result again, the President will have to manage the state for the next 6 months (The question I have now is can an elected MLA resign before taking oath. Who will he/she resign to? Article 190 does not give any details of these circumstances)

Since both the parties have already announced that they are ready to be in opposition, risk of losing seats doesn’t affect. This also shows how much risk a party is willing to take. Also, if this idea works, probably we have found a way to avoid hung assemblies and parliaments.

Vikas Argod is an active volunteer at IndiaGoverns Research Institute, a Bangalore based public policy data analysis organisation. He works as a management consultant in Atlanta, US. Views expressed here are personal.

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