Pooling of anti-BJP votes is essential to defeat the Narendra Modi-led government but Congress has "almost said a no" to an alliance with AAP in Delhi and this could end up benefitting the saffron party, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
Kejriwal gave a not-so-subtle message to the Congress on the need for alliance during a hurriedly-called press conference to comment on the Supreme Court order on the powers of Delhi government.
His comments came a day after a meeting of Opposition parties in which Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar (NCP), Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) and the AAP chief agreed to work on a national level pre-poll alliance.
"I think we all are concerned about the country. The situation in the country has changed a lot in the last five years...It is necessary that we need to have a common candidate against the BJP in seats where they are contesting so that the anti-BJP votes are not split. All parties will have to understand this," Kejriwal said.
Without naming Congress, he went on to say that if there are two candidates against BJP in Delhi's seven seats, it would end up benefitting BJP. Same is the case in Uttar Pradesh where Samajwadi Party and BSP are in an alliance, he said.
When specifically asked about an alliance with Congress in Delhi, he said, "they have almost said a no."
The Delhi unit of the Congress has opposed an alliance with AAP in Delhi while the Kejriwal-led party has also announced that it will contest all the seats. With no alliance in sight, Kejriwal had earlier said that voting for Congress would mean splitting anti-BJP votes and AAP would be a loser.
Through his repeated comments and presence in Opposition meetings, Kejriwal appears to be not closing the doors for an alliance or at least cooperation in a post-poll scenario. For AAP, Congress is its rival in Punjab and Haryana where the former hopes to gain big.
Though the Delhi unit was not enthusiastic, Congress on Wednesday sent its senior leader Anand Sharma to an AAP-hosted Opposition protest in Delhi while Gandhi drove to Pawar's residence for a late evening meeting with leaders including Kejriwal.
Gandhi told reporters last night all Opposition parties will work together with a principal target of fighting against the assault on institutions being carried out by the BJP. Banerjee has said that they would work out a pre-poll alliance and a common minimum programme.