Congress struck alliance deal on Haryana, then backtracked: AAP’s Manish Sisodiahttps://indianexpress.com/elections/congress-struck-alliance-deal-on-haryana-then-backtracked-aaps-manish-sisodia-lok-sabha-elections-5686278/

Congress struck alliance deal on Haryana, then backtracked: AAP’s Manish Sisodia

Addressing a scheduled press conference, which was billed by AAP as the “final” one on alliance, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh indicated that the two parties were still in talks.

Congress struck alliance deal on Haryana, then backtracked: AAP's Manish Sisodia
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia at the AAP headquarters, Saturday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The AAP Saturday accused the Congress of “reneging” on a seat sharing pact in Haryana, even as it kept the hope of an alliance — especially in Delhi — alive through a string of ambiguous statements.

Addressing a scheduled press conference, which was billed by AAP as the “final” one on alliance, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh indicated that the two parties were still in talks.

According to an official statement released Friday, the AAP had said that Sisodia and Singh would announce the party’s “final decision” on alliance during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Sisodia claimed that the Congress conveyed to Singh on Friday night that it was not ready for any seat sharing in Haryana, “despite having earlier agreed to the 7-2-1 formula” where the Congress would be the biggest player with seven seats, while JJP would get two and AAP one.

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“Even (JJP chief) Dushyant Chautala had approved the proposal (7-2-1). But the Congress sent a message to Sanjay ji last night saying it cannot part with any seat in Haryana,” Sisodia told reporters.

On Thursday, Chautala had asserted that the JJP would never join hands with the Congress. Singh, who was appointed as the official alliance negotiator by the AAP leadership, said: “I am saying this with full responsibility that the Congress has officially closed the Haryana chapter. If the BJP returns to power, Congress will be directly responsible.”

AAP sources said that senior leaders were ready to accept the Congress’s 4-3 seat-sharing offer in Delhi in AAP’s favour but Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was not convinced. “In the event of no alliance, the possibility of AAP having no MPs in the next Lok Sabha is very high. Keeping that in mind, senior leaders are willing to go with the Congress offer, which was tweeted even by Rahul Gandhi. Nothing can be ruled out till the last moment,” the source said.

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AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia address the media (Express photo/Tashi Tobgyal)

On Sisodia’s statement that the Congress went back on the 7-2-1 offer in Haryana, sources said that while the numbers were indeed agreed to, the deal fell through over Chautala’s demand for the Hisar and Kurukshetra seats, which the Congress refused. Later,

Chautala declared that he will be contesting from Hisar. The AAP and JJP have already announced that the parties will contest in three and seven seats in Haryana respectively, with the Karnal, Ambala and Faridabad seats going to AAP.

Meanwhile, asked if the AAP was interested in a Delhi-specific alliance, Sisodia evaded a direct response. He said that the AAP believes that the Congress will not be able to win any seats in the national capital.“For the AAP, it is not about a seat here and a seat there. If there was an alliance across 18 seats in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, then there would have been a mahaul. If we share three seats in Delhi, the possibility of Congress losing them is high,” Sisodia said.

DPCC spokesperson Jitender Kochar said:“AAP has been misleading people since the beginning. Congress was always interested in an alliance, but only in Delhi. Even Rahul Gandhi ji said that in his tweet. The talks initially were only about Delhi and then AAP changed its stand.”

Asked about the possibility of agreeing to a 5-2 seat sharing formula in AAP’s favour in Delhi, while also fielding one candidate in Chandigarh, Singh said no such offer has come from the Congress yet: “I can’t say anything in a press conference.”

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