Suspense, flip-flop mark Cong-AAP negotiations

Suspense, flip-flop mark Cong-AAP negotiations

Suspense and flip-flop marked the alliance talks between Congress and AAP on Wednesday with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party initially "calling off" the negotiations citing "uncompromised" stand of its partner but left the doors ajar for a possible tie-up in Delhi and Haryana.

Senior AAP leader and alliance negotiator Sanjay Singh came on record in the evening to say that Congress was not accommodative and they calling off the negotiations but within an hour there were indications from the AAP camp that doors were not closed fully and the talks were still on the cards.

On its part, Congress sources indicated that the last word has not been said on the alliance and they would be apprising party president Rahul Gandhi about the developments and progress they made in the negotiations before taking a final call.

The buzz about the alliance was renewed on Wednesday when news of senior Congress leader and AICC General Secretary in-charge of Haryana Ghulam Nabi Azad meeting Singh came out. Singh said that he had told Azad that Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) should be given three and AAP one in Haryana while leaving the rest six to Congress.

However, sources said, Congress told Singh that it was ready to give only two seats to JJP and one to AAP in Haryana while keeping the rest to itself. AAP had set the condition that it was willing was for an alliance in Delhi only if Congress was willing to part with seats in Haryana and Chandigarh.

Initially, Singh said AAP has called off the negotiations citing the "uncompromised" stand of Congress that it would not enter into any alliance in Haryana. However, he later said, "the talks ended inconclusively between the two parties after the Congress refused a tie-up in Haryana."

At the Congress headquarters, Azad said he keep meeting people, including Singh who is an MP, but he has not heard anything about an alliance in Haryana or Punjab. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda told reporters in Delhi that Congress unit in his state was capable enough to fight the elections alone and there was no need for an alliance but added that if the central leadership decides, they will go ahead.

Earlier, it was expected that Congress would announce seven candidates for Delhi on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning in case the alliance did not work but that plan has been re-worked now.

It is to be seen whether AAP will be going ahead with filing of nomination in West Delhi seat on Thursday as announced earlier. Even if it goes ahead, sources said, this may not upset the alliance talks as there is an understanding that the seat would go to AAP in case of a tie-up.

If alliance happens, Congress, which has agreed to fight three out of seven seats, is likely to field Ajay Maken (New Delhi), Kapil Sibal (Chandni Chowk) and Rajkumar Chouhan (North-West Delhi). AAP may continue with its candidates Aatishi (East Delhi), Raghav Chaddha (South Delhi), Dilip Pandey (North-East) and Gugan Singh (West Delhi).

Congress sources had earlier said that if the alliance would not work, it is likely to field Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit in East Delhi, J P Aggarwal in North-East Delhi, Mahabal Mishra (West Delhi) and Olympian-wrestler Sushil Kumar or Ramesh Kumar (South Delhi).