Kejriwal's dogged wooing dulls anti-graft plank vs Cong

The AAP-Congress alliance may have failed to take off in the national capital, but Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's all-out wooing of the grand old party has taken away the focus on the allegations of corruption which formed a key campaign issue during the previous Lok Sabha elections.

Kejriwal, the convenor of AAP, had painted the Congress as a corrupt party throughout his anti-graft campaign in 2011-12 which also targeted the then Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit for the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in 2010.

Allegations of corruption in the conduct of CWG, the coal mine allocation scam and the 2G scam emerged as key issues for the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013 and the Lok Sabha polls the following year, but the same have barely found a mention in the ongoing elections.

Kejriwal had contested the 2013 Assembly elections against Sheila and defeated her by a margin of 25,864 votes, becoming an overnight sensation. During the election campaign, Kejriwal had vowed to put Sheila behind bars within 24 hours of getting elected, saying that she was “smeared with colours of corruption”.

Interestingly, it was NCP chief and former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar — also a target of Kejriwal's anti-graft campaign — who took the lead in egging the Congress to join hands with AAP.

“All the allegations against Sheila were fake,” AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said when asked whether the prolonged negotiations with AAP had helped the Congress blunt Kejriwal's anti-graft campaign against Sheila.

Kejriwal's aggressive wooing of the Congress for an alliance in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh pushed his corruption allegations to the background as opposition parties focused their energies on defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Azad, who was a key interlocutor with AAP, blamed the greed of Kejriwal's outfit to have a lion's share in the pre-poll pact for the failure to strike an alliance in Delhi.

“They kept asking for a share in Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh and elsewhere. This was not acceptable to us,” he said.

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