It was crystal clear that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was very much eager to join hands with Congress to defeat the Bhartiya Janta Party. At various moments, Mr. Kejriwal also attacked Congress President Rahul Gandhi after failing to stitch an alliance.
Aam Aadmi Party and Congress on Saturday finally agreed to have a pre-poll alliance for a joint fight against BJP on Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats. The agreement comes after senior Congress leader and the party’s goto man in Delhi, PC Chacko, had two meetings with AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh. Both didn’t comment on the deal.
The sources say that the AAP has presented some conditions before finalizing the alliance. The deal awaits green flag from Rahul Gandhi and then formal announcement will be made.
Senior Aam Aadmi Party leaders on Saturday said that any offer of an alliance in Delhi by the Congress would not be accepted without reciprocal seat sharing in Haryana and a public announcement of support to the demand for full statehood for Delhi.
If the alliance works out, the parties would work out a “joint campaign strategy” for the May 12 elections, a senior AAP leader said. The leader added that the party had asked for Faridabad, Gurgaon and Karnal seats in Haryana.
Sources also say added that the party would be ready to support the Congress’ candidate for Chandigarh. In all, Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh account for 18 Lok Sabha seats, which, the AAP leader said, the BJP would not win if the Congress and AAP get together. For Haryana, the Jannayak Janta Party is also in talks with the Congress for seat sharing, the leader said.
However, the Congress on Sunday said it was not in talks with the AAP or any other party for alliance in Haryana and Punjab, and will soon declare its candidates for the two states.
“There’s no talk on alliance with any party, including the AAP, either in Haryana or in Punjab. We are soon going to declare our candidates (for the two states),” Randeep Surjewala, chief spokesperson of the Congress said on Sunday at a press conference where the Congress unveiled its campaign slogan for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls — “Ab Hoga Nyay”.
On the seats the party would be willing to give up, one of the AAP leaders said the Congress had only communicated through media reports that it would want New Delhi, Chandni Chowk and North-West Delhi, but the AAP leadership would take a call on the specific seats once the Congress conveys its agreement for the alliance.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had Saturday discussed the issue again with his party leaders from the city. Delhi Congress president and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, All India Congress Committee General Secretary and in-charge of the party’s national capital unit P C Chacko and some other senior leaders were present at the meeting held in Gandhi’s residence.