India's BJP declines to form Delhi government

BJP supporters celebrate their party's performance in Delhi Image copyright AP
Image caption The BJP has swept to power in three key states

India's main opposition BJP has declined to form a government in the capital, Delhi, despite emerging as the single largest party in state polls.

The party said it did not have a mandate to form a government and would prefer to sit in the opposition.

With 32 of the 70 seats, the BJP and an ally fell four short of a majority to form a government.

This was because of a surprisingly strong showing by the new anti-corruption Aam Admi Party (AAP.

The AAP, or Common Man's party, led by former civil servant Arvind Kejriwal and born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago, won 28 seats in the Delhi assembly elections.

The Congress party lost control of Delhi's assembly, winning only eight seats.

BJP's chief ministerial nominee Harsh Vardhan met Delhi's governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday evening for talks on forming a government.

"We have conveyed to him that we do not have enough seats and in view of lack of clear mandate, the party would like to sit in the opposition," Mr Vardhan told reporters.

The AAP has also said it did not have the mandate to form the government and would like to "play the role of constructive opposition".

The party has said it will not seek or give support from any party to form a government.

Mr Kejriwal said his party would prefer fresh elections to forming a government with support from Congress or the BJP.

With a hung assembly appearing imminent, Delhi may be forced to return to the polls, analysts say.

The BJP is however set to form governments in three crucial states after winning absolute majorities in recent assembly elections.

The governing Congress party was humiliated in Rajasthan and Delhi, while the BJP held Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

The only state where Congress has won is Mizoram in the north-east.

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