After months of meetings and speculation, alliance talks between AAP and the Congress seem to have taken a critical hit Wednesday.
“Saari baatein khatm ho gayi hain. Gathbandhan ki sambhavna poori tarah khatm ho gayi hai. Congress ki gathbandhan ki shartein avyavharik thi aur BJP ko fayda pahunchane vaali thi. (Talks are finished. There is no possibility of an alliance now. Congress’s conditions for an alliance were impractical and would have benefitted BJP),” senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said.
The decision, sources said, was taken in a series of meetings held Tuesday and Wednesday, where AAP insisted that the Congress part with three seats in Haryana, just like they are doing in Delhi. The Haryana Congress unit has clearly said they will not agree to an alliance in the state.
The two parties had come to an understanding for Delhi, where AAP would have contested on four seats and Congress on three. But AAP’s demands outside the city played spoiler. The Congress, meanwhile, hit back at AAP, questioning its sincerity in defeating the BJP.
“If they are serious in their proposal, there is no reason for them to withdraw,” senior Congress leader P C Chacko said. The Congress central election committee will meet in Delhi Thursday and Chacko said the panel will discuss candidates for Delhi too. While AAP has declared candidates for all seven seats, the Congress is yet to do so.
“The alliance proposal came from them. We responded to that. We said we are ready for an alliance. Now, they want an alliance for Haryana also. That was not on our agenda. Our agenda was a limited alliance with AAP in Delhi alone. The only state in India where an alliance between AAP and Congress is relevant is Delhi… We responded positively and we said we can have three seats and you can have four seats… If they say that they don’t want an alliance…no problem. It is welcome,” Chacko said.
He said AAP has not communicated its decision to him or the Congress. “They have not told me. They told the media. There is no communication from them.”
Singh, meanwhile, said the Congress’s decision to not look beyond Delhi was a deal-breaker: “We have 19 MLAs and 4 MPs in Punjab and they were not ready to give us a seat there. They said no to Haryana and Goa as well. But in Delhi, where they don’t have a single MLA, let alone MP, they want three seats. This is an unfair demand and it seems the Congress wants to help BJP win.”
According to the Congress, as part of the pact, the party was to contest in New Delhi, Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi seats. “When they wanted an alliance… in spite of reluctance from our party, I took permission of the Congress president and went ahead with the discussion. We agreed on a pact from which they are now withdrawing… We did not have a difference on selection of seats. Everything was decided. If they are withdrawing from that, it shows they are not sincere to the cause,” Chacko said.
“They were accusing us that Congress is not serious in defeating the BJP. If they are serious in defeating the BJP, we have offered them terms which are acceptable,” he said.