AAP says no to alliance with Congress

AAP to contest all seats in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana

Aam Aadmi Party National convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI File Photo

Shutting the door on Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, AAP on Friday said it will contest all seats in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab alone.

A section of the top leadership in both the parties were of the view that AAP and Congress should align in the Lok Sabha elections as a division in votes would only help the BJP.

In the 2014 elections, the BJP had bagged all the seven seats in Delhi while in Punjab it has one seat and its ally Akali Dal has four seats. Congress and AAP also have four each seats in Punjab.

"Our party will contest Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, we will contest alone. In the interest of the country, we were ready to drink the poison of Congress. For Congress their arrogance is bigger than national interest, it is visible from recent statements of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit," senior AAP leader and Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said on Friday.

His comments came as both Singh and Dikshit said they were against aligning with AAP. A section within the AAP in both Punjab, Haryana and Delhi units is against joining hands with Congress.

Congress sources said its president Rahul Gandhi was inclined to align with the AAP but he refused to overrule the objections raised by Delhi leaders. Similar was the case with AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.

The need for an alliance was well summed up by Kejriwal in a recent meeting with party workers here when he said any vote for Congress would end up helping BJP. 

Citing a survey which claimed BJP is likely to lose around 10% of votes it polled in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal said, if this votes go to Congress, it would still end up helping BJP win. While BJP garnered around 46% votes, AAP got 33%  and Congress 15%.

"If all such votes go to Congress, its vote share will be 25% while AAP will remain at 33%. BJP's share in such a scenario will be 36% and it will still be on the top," Kejriwal had said.

The section in Congress was arguing that a coalition would mean ceding space to the AAP, which was speculated to have initially offered just two seats. At the maximum, sources said, AAP would have given three seats and it would mean Congress accepting Kejriwal's upper hand in Delhi politics.

However, the other section argued that BJP would benefit in a three-cornered contest and the immediate priority is to win a couple of seats rather than "taking off on an ego trip". 

In the AAP camp too, similar arguments were made by both sections. The Punjab unit was overwhelmingly opposed to joining hands with Congress arguing that they were in opposition to the party in the state.

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AAP says no to alliance with Congress

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