It’s a political script where, half way through, everyone knows two or three possible endings. Phrases like ‘breakdown of governance’ are being thrown around North Block. Intimations of drama fill the news pages. And a whole lot of crusty, dormant phrases—Article 356, Centre-state relations—have sprung to life. Delhi has been like this ever since its chief secretary was allegedly assaulted by MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on February 20. Raw to the touch and thick with rumour. But will it really go the full distance?
It’s the BJP’s Delhi unit that let go of the ambiguity: dismiss the Arvind Kejriwal government, it demanded openly, vocalising what was till then an unstated threat. The AAP regime in Delhi has been the BJP’s pet bugaboo—an object evoking some fear and plenty loathing—ever since that dramatic 67:3 verdict of February 2015, and thoughts of sweet revenge would be most natural. Duly, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari insists it’s “a case of failure of constitutional machinery”, fit for emergency measures to be applied.
Amid this sabre-rattling, and much public jousting between Delhi’s bureaucrats and AAP leaders, the MHA is quietly seeking legal opinion on imposing President’s Rule. This was after Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal submitted his report about the Anshu Prakash incident to home minister Rajnath Singh. The L-G is learnt to have flagged the “breakdown of communication between bureaucrats and the political leadership”, triggering the buzz that his report may indeed form the basis of an attempt to invoke Article 356.
So will it happen? Senior BJP leaders say the idea of taking control of Delhi is tantalising. “The Capital has eluded us for two decades. Its loss, along with that of Bihar, had hurt the...