Back-channel talks still on with AAP, says Congresshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/back-channel-talks-still-on-with-aap-says-congress-5616480/

Back-channel talks still on with AAP, says Congress

As for Delhi, Congress sources said efforts are on to convince party president Rahul Gandhi, who had decided to go by the view of the Delhi leadership of the Congress.

Back-channel talks still on with AAP, says Congress
Delhi Cong chief Sheila Dikshit said there will not be any alliance with the AAP. Express Photo by Amit Mehra

Days after the Congress declared that it will not have an electoral alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, the party has not snapped back-channel lines with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party.

Sources said informal talks are still on with the AAP and a top Congress leader is in touch with its leadership. Sources said it has been conveyed to the AAP leadership that a seat-sharing arrangement with it in Punjab would not be possible.

As for Delhi, Congress sources said efforts are on to convince party president Rahul Gandhi, who had decided to go by the view of the Delhi leadership of the Congress. The overwhelming sentiment in the Delhi unit is still against any alliance with the AAP.

But a section of the Congress central leadership believes that the BJP will get a virtual walkover in the event of a triangular contest, especially in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot strike by the Air Force.
Sources said many opposition leaders have conveyed the same sentiment to the Congress leadership.

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Asked about the Congress not tying up with AAP in Delhi, Gandhi said at a press conference: “If you see, our alliances are set in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand. In Delhi, our party unit is unanimously against the alliance. But overall alliances are on track.”

AAP Delhi unit head Gopal Rai, meanwhile, put the onus of making a decision on Gandhi.

“AAP took an ideological decision for an alliance, keeping in view the need to save democracy… I feel Rahul Gandhi is either not comprehending the national situation or he is unable to make his party organisation understand it. Instead of batting from behind his state unit, he should take a decision,” Rai said.

He acknowledged that many within AAP are against the alliance as well. “Our workers do not want an alliance. Many leaders are personally against it. But the decision for an alliance was taken in favour of national interests,” he said.