Making it clear yet again that the Delhi unit of the Congress was not in a favour of an alliance with AAP ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, state Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit said the decision was taken unanimously. The announcement came after senior Congress leaders met party president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday.
“It has been unanimously decided that the Congress will not go for an alliance with AAP,” Dikshit said after the meeting.
The seat-sharing formula under discussion was that the two parties would contest three seats each out of the seven in the capital. For the remaining seat, they were in talks to field a joint candidate. Names of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha were discussed.
Speaking at a rally near Jama Masjid last month, the AAP chief had said: “I believe everywhere there should be one opposition candidate against BJP candidates. Hum Congress ko mana mana ke thak gaye, gatbandhan karlo, gatbandhan karlo (We got tired of trying to convince the Congress for an alliance). I want to ask, should there be a coalition or not? If there is a coalition, the BJP will be routed in Delhi… I don’t know what is in their (Congress’s) mind.
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 Congress president 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”. After the meeting, Kejriwal had said that the Congress has “more or less” ruled out an alliance with AAP.
Last week, in a bid to create pressure on Congress, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP had declared candidates for six of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats. AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai Friday said that DPCC chief Sheila Dikshit had said that she was not in favour of any alliance. “Time was running out and we had to announce names,” Rai said.
In 2014 Lok Sabha election, the vote share of the Congress and the AAP added up to almost 49 per cent of the total — four per cent more than what the BJP got.
The votes polled by the AAP and Congress candidates added up to more than that of the BJP candidate in six seats out of seven, the only exception being West Delhi, where Parvesh Sahib Singh, the son of former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, polled more votes than the Congress’s Mahabal Mishra and the AAP’s Jarnail Singh put together.
In 2013, the Congress had extended outside support to the first Arvind Kejriwal government, only to withdraw it months later.