Why AAP, Congress won’t tie up: LS, Assembly polls in quick successionhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/why-aap-congress-wont-tie-up-ls-assembly-polls-in-quick-succession-5447059/

Why AAP, Congress won’t tie up: LS, Assembly polls in quick succession

The Congress did not win a single seat in 2015, after ruling the state for 15 years.

Names of Lok Sabha candidates after doorstep campaign ends: AAP
“People will stand with a party that can defeat the BJP, in local as well as national interest, said Gopal Rai. (Express photo)

The optics and logistics of pairing up with one party in the general elections and dissociating with it within six months is the primary reason why AAP has ruled out any alliance with the Congress or with a united opposition front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, said senior party leaders.

While the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled early next year, the Delhi Assembly elections will be held in the first half of 2020.

“How can we align with the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, and then, within six months, campaign against the same party in the state? We do not want a pre-poll alliance with the Congress as we will end up sending out the wrong message to the electorate,” said a senior AAP leader who did not want to be named.

The AAP will not be part of the November 22 Opposition parties’ meet in Delhi to discuss the formation of a joint front.

The AAP government, which is in its fourth year, came to power in 2015 with a thumping majority on the back of an election campaign that targeted the Congress, especially in Delhi, for alleged corruption and lack of development.

The Congress did not win a single seat in 2015, after ruling the state for 15 years.

“Congress has finished third in the last few elections. People will stand with a party that can defeat the BJP, in local as well as national interest. There is no possibility of any understanding with the Congress. We will not join any alliance with the Congress. The electorate in every state will go with the party best placed to defeat the BJP,” Delhi AAP convener Gopal Rai told The Indian Express.

Asked if the AAP will extend support to a Congress-led government at the Centre, Rai said, “Any decision in this regard will be taken after the elections.” According to sources, local MLAs as well as volunteers have also told AAP that aligning with the Congress will not go down well with its voters. “They have told us that the move could trigger discontent since these are the same people who voted for AAP as the alternative,” the leader said.

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The Congress has also, in the past, ruled out an alliance with AAP. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had said in September that there would be no alliance in 2019. The party also insisted that AAP’s vote share had started “eroding”.