Congress won’t play ball, AAP allies with JJP in Haryana, will contest 3 seatshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/congress-wont-play-ball-aap-allies-with-jjp-in-haryana-will-contest-3-seats-5673375/

Congress won’t play ball, AAP allies with JJP in Haryana, will contest 3 seats

The development comes two days after coalition talks broke down between AAP and Congress in Delhi, over the former’s insistence on seat sharing in Haryana.

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AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai with JJP leader Dushyant Chautala. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

The Aam Aadmi Party and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), headed by former INLD leader and O P Chautala’s grandson Dushyant Chautala, announced an alliance for 10 seats in the Haryana Lok Sabha polls, with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party set to fight from three seats.

“The combination of jhadoo (broom) and chappal (slipper) will drive out all thorns from Haryana,” Dushyant, the JJP founder and Hisar MP, said Friday.

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The development comes two days after coalition talks broke down between AAP and Congress in Delhi, over the former’s insistence on seat sharing in Haryana.

ALSO READ | AAP compelled us to go alone, Cong still ready for just Delhi, says P C Chacko

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A threat to Congress

The AAP-JJP alliance in Haryana could spell trouble for Congress in the state. In the Jind assembly bypolls in January, where the BJP candidate won by a margin of 11,000 votes, it was the JJP candidate who came in second, leaving senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala in third place. The alliance also gives a chance for AAP’s Haryana cadre to display their strength — something they have been eager to do since the 2014 Lok Sabha debacle.

AAP had supported the JJP candidate during the Jind assembly bypolls earlier this year. The alliance was announced at a press conference in Delhi Friday, with Chautala, AAP Delhi unit head Gopal Rai, AAP Haryana unit head Naveen Jaihind, JJP’s KC Bangar and AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta in attendance.

“We have seen AAP’s work in education and other fields in Delhi. In Haryana, we will fight and bring similar changes. BJP’s poor policies and Congress’s loot, both need to be uprooted from Haryana… Arvind Kejriwal is like my elder brother. He supported us in Jind. If he needs JJP’s help in Delhi polls, we are more than willing. Our party is only five months old but if there is anything we can do to help, we will do it,” Chautala said.

While the division of seats was not disclosed at the press conference, sources said AAP is expected to get Gurgaon, Faridabad and Karnal — the same ones it had demanded from Congress.

Asked if fighting from seven seats was too ambitious for a five-month-old party, Chautala said: “Arvind Kejriwal ji is like my older brother. Chhota bhai thoda zyada toh maang hi sakta hai.”

AAP’s Gopal Rai, meanwhile, tore into Congress and said the party would lose its deposit on all 10 seats in Haryana.

“The AAP-JJP alliance will emerge as a welcome change. Jobless youth in Haryana are looking for change and fulfilment of their dreams,” Rai said.

Speaking about the long-drawn AAP-Congress alliance talks, Rai said AAP went against even its cadre for “national interest”.“The question was not of three seats for us or them. The question was of 33 seats in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Goa and Chandigarh. Congress does not want to talk about the other states,” Rai said.