A section of the central Congress leadership may be keen that the party enter into an alliance with the AAP in Delhi and Punjab, but there was a strong pushback to the proposal from both states Monday.
A day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned people against voting for the Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and AICC in-charge of Delhi P C Chacko made it clear that the respective state units are not interested in a tie-up with AAP, putting the ball in the central leadership’s court.
Singh met Congress president Rahul Gandhi after which he said AAP is now non-existent in Punjab. Many Punjab Congress leaders told The Indian Express that the implosion in the AAP has weakened it considerably, and that it does not have the same traction among people that it enjoyed in 2017.
Singh said the AAP is non-existent in Punjab and argued, “There is absolutely no need for the Congress in the state to go for an alliance with Kejriwal’s party.” He said the Congress’s state unit has already conveyed this to the high-command.
“AAP has become defunct, with no identity in Punjab, as opposed to the situation during the last Lok Sabha elections. However, any decision on a coalition with AAP or any other party would be taken by the Congress high-command, keeping in mind the national perspective and electoral compulsions, and would be followed by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee,” Singh said.
Talking to The Indian Express, Chacko aired similar views. “There is no move from the Congress side for any alliance with AAP. The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee’s unanimous opinion is that it should fight the elections on its own. The Congress does not want to have an alliance with AAP or with anybody. And we have not initiated discussions with any political party,” he said.
Asked about the constant speculation, he said, “Maybe the AAP is planting some stories in the media. Probably they would like to have an alliance with the Congress. But we have not responded to that. And we are not for that. That is our position.”
Sources in the Congress said AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh has been in touch with senior Congress leaders, who believe the two parties should join hands.
“But they have not been able to convince either Rahul or the respective state units,” a senior leader said.