Clarity on AAP-Cong alliance in Delhi today

Last Updated 01 May 2019, 12:10 IST

Indications about whether the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will align in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections may emerge on Wednesday even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit officially insisted that the time for "agar-magar" (ifs and buts) on coalition was well past.

Which way the wind would blow will be clear by Wednesday evening, Opposition sources said, after Congress president Rahul Gandhi returned to the national capital from his north-east tour.

Though both sides have said that there would not be an alliance, hectic backroom negotiations were held in the past few weeks.

On Tuesday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Rahul and AAP's Sanjay Singh separately. After his meeting with Gandhi, sources said, Pawar held discussions with Singh where the former indicated that the Congress top leadership may be inclined towards an alliance.

Sources said Pawar also met Yechury, who is said to be working behind the scenes for an Opposition alliance in Delhi.

However, at a press conference, the AAP displayed a belligerent tone saying it was forced to go alone and announce its Lok Sabha campaign for seven seats on March 23, while blaming on the Congress for no alliance in Delhi.

"Anti-fascist campaign is being weakened by the Congress. AAP on its own with the help of people will defeat BJP," senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said.

When asked to clearly tell whether there would be an alliance, he said, "Na". To further questions on what it would if the Congress reached out later, he said, "Time for "agar-magar" (ifs and buts) is over."

Rai's comments came even as Singh earlier said the doors are still open.

The Delhi unit of the Congress is a divided house on the question of alliance. While Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit is against an alliance, former chief Ajay Maken has made a U-turn and is arguing for a coalition. AICC Delhi in-charge P C Chacko, as well as top leaders like Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, are pro-alliance.

The anti-alliance faction argues that the Congress' increasing vote share would further the chances of pushing the AAP to the third place. This, they say, would be beneficial in the Assembly elections early next year and would signal the revival of the party in the capital.

Opposition sources said AICC Secretary and Delhi in-charge P C Chacko would meet Gandhi on Wednesday evening and is likely to brief him about the political situation in Delhi.

Chacko is also likely to submit a letter containing signatures of 14 district presidents of the party who supports the idea of alliance in the capital. Another letter by former district presidents will also be submitted to Gandhi in a bid to project the demand from a section of the party.

The pro-alliance camp claimed that only Dikshit and some of her supporters are against the alliance and the survey done by reaching out to booth workers through the party APP has shown that there is an overwhelming support for AAP and Congress jointly fighting the seat.

(Published 19 March 2019, 18:35 IST)

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