Congress MLA from Okhla Asif Mohammad Khan and Mustafabad MLA Hasan Ahmed on Friday admitted that the party has been in talks with Aam Aadmi Party for weeks regarding government formation in Delhi.
The Congress, during these talks, had demanded more say in policy-making. The Congress leaders said prior to AAP’s allegations of horse-trading, the process of forging an alliance between the Congress and the AAP was almost complete.
Khan said the talks between the AAP and the Congress had begun in June. “Initially, the AAP wanted us to extend unconditional support to it, in order for the party to form government in Delhi. We had met AAP’s top leadership, including Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh,” he said.
According to Khan, the AAP’s allegations of horse-trading came after the party’s top leadership felt that there was a possibility of a break-away faction of the Congress supporting the BJP. “After making such baseless allegations, I don’t want any meeting with the AAP to take place behind closed doors. Everything should be in the public domain now,” he said.
He told Newsline that a number of differences in ideological stands of the two parties were discussed during the political bargaining that ensued. “One of the big issues that was discussed during these meetings was the stand that the AAP was going to take up on the Jan Lokpal. It was decided that the AAP would adopt a soft stand on it,” he said.
Another issue that was discussed during these talks was regarding who would become the chief minister. The Congress had said it would be difficult for it to support an Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi. “To this, Manish Sisodia had offered that we support him as the CM candidate of Delhi, instead of Kejriwal,” Khan said.
Hasan Ahmed said a proposal to share power in Delhi was also being discussed with the AAP. “One of the proposals that was discussed was the possibility of sharing power in Delhi. The Congress wanted more say in policy-making,” he said.
Khan said after meetings between Congress and AAP leaders, the AAP had continued conversations with him.
“I attempted to bring about a consensus among the Congress MLAs to forge an alliance with the AAP. But this was met with opposition from the Congress high command,” he said.
Khan said the AAP was reticent about appointing Congress leaders as ministers, which had initially stalled the talks. “But later they were open to the idea of appointing a senior leader within the Congress Legislature Party as minister. Initially, they had suggested that Congress leaders be placed at the helm of various committees in Delhi,” he said.
Asked about these allegations, Manish continued…