With alliance talks between Congress and AAP falling apart, at least for now, the Congress war-room is busy preparing a game plan for a three-way contest in the national capital.
Haroon Yusuf, working president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, told The Indian Express: “The BJP, during its tenure, introduced no new initiatives for the people in Delhi, while AAP failed to fulfill its 70-point agenda. We are working on a plan and will come out with a campaign against both the parties soon.”
A senior party leader involved in formulating the Congress campaign claimed: “It is going to be a two-pronged attack. We have an advantage that both BJP and AAP have failed in certain areas. We are going to focus on exposing their loopholes to the people. The confusion over the alliance is over now. Work in the party was moving at a slow pace due to the ongoing speculations, but now the fight is on.”
The screening committee of the party is expected to choose from around 70 applicants, who have submitted applications to contest the polls. The party is expected to finalise a shortlist in the next two-three days. “We will meet on Thursday to decide the names of shortlisted candidates. The names will be sent to (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi and he will take a final call,” P C Chacko, AICC general secretary, told The Indian Express.
The grand old party has already been holding booth-level workers’ conventions to reach out to voters.
“The workers are more enthused after today’s decision. We are rigorously working towards the campaigning process. The final names will be decided after March 11 when Rahulji will be in Delhi to address a booth-level workers’ convention. Till then, the probable candidates are identifying problems in their areas and preparing a roadmap for the campaign,” said DPCC working president Rajesh Lilothia.
According to sources, senior AAP leaders have been speaking to Congress leaders at the national level over the past three months. The alliance was also discussed in a meeting with Rahul Gandhi last month. The resistance, senior AAP leaders claimed, has come from the Delhi unit of the Congress, which “believes it can win in a few seats without AAP”.
Speaking at a rally near Jama Masjid last month, Kejriwal had pressed for a coalition, saying: “I believe everywhere there should be one opposition candidate against a BJP candidate. If there is a coalition, the BJP will be routed in Delhi.”