With a section of the Congress central leadership still in favour of a tie-up with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Saturday met Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, and is learnt to have discussed the issue.
While Dikshit only said that it was a one-on-one meeting at Sonia’s residence, sources indicated that the Congress leadership is still weighing the pros and cons of a pact with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party. Sources said AICC Delhi in-charge P C Chacko, who is in favour of an alliance, too had a meeting with Sonia earlier this week.
Saturday’s meeting came days after top Delhi Congress leaders met party president Rahul Gandhi, following which Dikshit announced that the Congress will not ally with the AAP and would go it alone in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections.
Since then, many Opposition leaders are learnt to have tried to convince the Congress leadership to review its decision.
The Congress’s Delhi unit, on the other hand, is largely against the alliance with the AAP, especially since the two parties will be pitted against each other in the Delhi Assembly polls scheduled for 2020.
Even on Saturday, Delhi unit leaders sought to end any rumours in the wake of Dikshit’s meeting with Sonia.
“Sheila ji officially announced it recently that there will be no alliance with AAP. Arvind Kejriwal is known for his lies and he is spreading rumours again, hoping for an alliance. The party has already made its stand clear and there is no second thought about it,” said Rajesh Lilothia, working president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
Following Dikshit’s announcement rejecting an alliance, Kejriwal had said that the Congress was putting the party ahead of the nation and that it was working with the BJP.
Sources in the Congress said Dikshit spoke to Sonia about the working committees and their plan for the seven constituencies in Delhi.
Rahul will address a booth-level workers’ convention Monday, after which he is expected to shortlist the names of probable candidates for the constituencies. A Delhi Congress leader said: “Party workers here are enthused after the decision taken by the Delhi Congress over the alliance. Rahul ji will motivate them during the convention.”
According to sources, senior AAP leaders had been in touch with central Congress leaders over the past three months. The resistance, AAP leaders claimed, has come from the Delhi unit of the Congress since “it believes it can win in a few seats even without AAP”. Kejriwal has maintained that Opposition parties should come together to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.
Those in the Congress who favour a tie-up, meanwhile, said the AICC committee on alliances headed by A K Antony is yet to give its final view.