The Delhi state assembly faces an unprecedented situation, as no party is willing to come forward to form a government.
The elections to the state, which houses India’s capital, threw up a hung assembly on Sunday with no party getting a majority.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 31 seats, the Congress, which headed the previous assembly, routed with just eight seats while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a dream debut bagged 28 seats.
An independent and two other minor parties got the remaining three.
In a house of 70, one party or an alliance needed to cross the half-way mark. What takes the situation into uncharted territory is that none of the parties is willing to ally with either of the other two.
Parties would not want to form a minority government as they are inherently unstable, and at the mercy of the opposition.
While the BJP indicated it would support the AAP if it formed government, the AAP declined to have anything to do either with the Congress and the BJP.
Its chief, Arvind Kejriwal, made it clear they had campaigned against both the parties and would not let down voters.
The chances of the Congress supporting the BJP are extremely remote as both see each other as die-hard opponents, ideologically and otherwise.
In cases of a hung assembly, political parties normally try to lure winners from other parties to make up a majority, by offering posts in the ministry or by offering huge bribes.
India’s three-decade-old anti-defection act plugged loopholes and made this difficult, but not impossible.
Under the act, at least one-third of the winners need to shift allegiance, else they will get disqualified and would need to get re-elected.
In the case of the Delhi assembly, it does not seem likely that one-third from any party will defect to another.
The AAP which fought on an anti-corruption platform does not want to defeat its own cause by aligning with the BJP or the Congress, both of which it terms as parties that have compromised with corruption.
Under Indian electoral convention, the Governor of the state invites the single largest party to form government.
If the BJP remains unwilling to head a government which does not have majority in the assembly, the option will go to the AAP as the next largest party.
If the AAP too decides against forming government, the Governor will intervene to rule the state until elections are held once again.
In elections to five state assemblies, counting for which was held on Sunday, the BJP retained power in two states — Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarsh – and defeated the Congress in one state – Rajasthan.
Counting is scheduled on Monday for Mizoram state.
These elections have been touted as “semi-finals” since elections to the all-important national elections to the lower house of the Indian parliament are scheduled sometime in April or May, 2014.