AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh Tuesday offered a “5-2 seat sharing deal” to the Congress via NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who has taken on the mantle of playing mediator, even as its Delhi unit head Gopal Rai ruled out further alliance parleys. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, meanwhile, said “no talks are being held between the two parties”.
Speaking at the sidelines of a public meeting Tuesday night, Kejriwal said: “According to official information I have, Congress has said no to an alliance. We are not interested in stories they are planting in newspapers or what is happening in their internal meetings. They have officially conveyed to us that there is no alliance and secondly, no talks are being held between the two parties.”
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Earlier in the day, Singh told The Indian Express: “I proposed the 5-2 seat sharing deal (in favour of AAP) to Congress through Pawar ji. If Congress is
serious about defeating BJP, it should agree to alliances in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.” He insisted that not just Delhi, but Punjab and Haryana will have to be part of the deal.
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“We need to save the country first, party later,” Singh said. This is the first time AAP has publicly shared a seat-sharing formula. So far, it was only sources in Congress who had floated the idea of the two parties fielding three candidates each and leaving one seat for an independent who both agreed on.
Before meeting Singh, Pawar held a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He is later learnt to have conveyed to Singh that Rahul “sounds positive” about a coalition.
In a press conference in the afternoon, however, Rai said AAP was tired of waiting for an answer from the Congress and a decision that the party will go it alone has been made. Barely two days ago, Rai had said the AAP was keeping its door open for talks.
“We have announced candidates from all seven seats and after Holi, we will start strengthening our campaign. There has been a lot of talk about an alliance with the Congress over the past few months… its wishy-washy attitude on the issue has stalled the anti-BJP campaign in Delhi. We have decided we will contest elections alone because we cannot afford to kill time like the Congress,” Rai said.
Asked if AAP was divided on the issue, Rai said “no”. “If a party is so indecisive, questions are bound to arise on its intent and capability. Desh ke hit mein jitna jhukna tha, hum jhuk chuke hain. Agar-magar ka time khatam ho chuka hai,” he said, adding that party volunteers and supporters are tired and do not want to wait for a decision anymore.
A senior AAP leader reiterated this, saying AAP was prepared to go it alone in the polls. “Some leaders are trying to bridge a gap between the two parties, but we have to realise that Pawar ji has not been appointed by Congress to lead alliance talks. He can only share an idea. At the end of the day, we think we will be contesting alone in Delhi — and that is fine by us,” said the senior leader.
Another leader sought to project the two differing voices as “part of AAP strategy”. “Their (Congress’s) Delhi unit leaders are routinely making similar statements. It is only fair for our Delhi unit head to hit back…”