Differences in the Delhi Congress have become glaringly apparent with the Congress state unit, Delhi MLAs and the All India Congress Committee (AICC) seemingly in complete discord.
The differences first emerged after five-time Congress MLA Mateen Ahmed said no Congress MLA “wants to contest elections in Delhi right now”. The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) was quick to reiterate that there was no question of supporting either the BJP or the AAP. But the state unit was, in turn, contradicted by leaders of the AICC, who said the possibility of supporting the AAP in Delhi could not be ruled out yet.
“With MLAs coming forward to say that the party isn’t in a position to contest elections in Delhi, the matter needs to be considered carefully and we can’t rule out anything yet,” a senior Congress leader said. Deeply unsettled by the extent of their loss in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress leaders said their biggest loss was the large-scale erosion of Muslim and Dalit votes in favour of the AAP.
Mateen Ahmed, who remains undefeated in the Seelampur constituency since he first contested the Assembly segment in 1993, said, “At present, nobody from the Congress wishes to contest elections. The Congress and the AAP are two big parties in Delhi and the possibility of an alliance should be considered,” he said.
On Friday, Mateen Ahmed met AICC general secretary and Delhi in-charge Shakeel Ahmed to express his views. Shakeel Ahmed refused to divulge details of the meeting, but said, “Mateen has presented his views to me. We will be meeting all Delhi MLAs in the next two days.”
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Meanwhile, the DPCC continued to maintain that no such alliance can be forged with Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP.
“Mateen Ahmed is welcome to present his personal take on the situation. But we will not support the AAP to form the government. They have betrayed the people of Delhi. We are ready for polls,” Mukesh Sharma, the DPCC chief spokesperson said.
Despite assertions of preparedness, sources in the Delhi Congress said all eight MLAs agreed with Mateen Ahmed’s assessment of the situation. Sources said a few of the MLAs had even considered supporting a BJP government in a bid to retain power.
Sharma categorically denied this and stated that there was “simply no question of siding with the BJP and supporting communal forces”.