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U-Turn On Cards? Cong May Ally With AAP in Delhi, Says PC Chacko

Days after having decided to go it alone in Delhi, the Congress is again mulling options to align with AAP.

Updated
Elections
3 min read
File photo of AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.
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Days after having unanimously decided to go it alone in Delhi, the Congress is again mulling options to align with the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital, in its bid to defeat the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Congress PC Chacko, speaking to ANI, suggested that the party is in talks with AAP. He added that Congress President Rahul Gandhi will take the decision, in a few days.

“As far as I know there are senior leaders in Delhi who think that defeating BJP is party’s immediate responsibility. For that, we should form alliance with AAP – that’s the thinking of majority of leaders,” said Chacko.

"The Congress Working Committee has decided to align with like-minded parties across the country to defeat the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. I hope Delhi Congress leaders also go by this sentiment and decide on an alliance with AAP, but a final decision will be taken by the Congress president very soon," Chacko told news agency PTI.

Sources have told ANI that NCP Chief Sharad Pawar is mediating the talks between the two parties and a formal announcement will be made soon.

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Sheila Dikshit Opposed to Alliance

Chacko's views are at variance with Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit, who has made it clear that aligning with AAP will not be in the party's interests keeping in view the Assembly election in the national capital slated later.

According to reports, Dikshit has written to Rahul and Sonia Gandhi saying forging an alliance with AAP will “harm the party in the long run.”

However, she told NDTV, “I have left it to the Congress high command and whatever they decide I will go by it. I believe the Congress is in a position to fight with the workers on its own.”

The Delhi Congress chief also called an urgent meeting with the three working presidents of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday.

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The party leaders of the Delhi unit, however, maintained that there was no talk of an alliance during the meeting.

"An urgent meeting was called and it was decided that the selection of candidates should begin. Around 70 applications have been received by the party from Delhi Congress leaders for seven seats in Delhi," a senior party leader said.

He said,"A screening committee of the party including Dikshit has to shortlist names from among the applications and send a list of 2-3 names per seat to top leadership for final announcement."

The three working presidents, Devender Yadav, Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilothia, along with Sheila Dikshit, have written to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi against the alliance.

In a letter written last week, Dikshit along with Yusuf, Yadav and Lilothia, also protested a recent phone survey to gauge workers' mood on the alliance.

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‘There Would be No Alliance With Congress’: AAP’s Gopal Rai

Amid the back and forth, the AAP said on Tuesday that it would fight the Lok Sabha polls alone. AAP's national convenor Gopal Rai told reporters there would be no alliance with the Congress and that his party would contest the polls on the slogan of 'Poorna Rajya Banao Jhaadu ka Button Dabao', essentially telling people the national capital will get full statehood if they vote for the AAP.

On Monday too, Rai had told PTI there would be no alliance with the Congress. "Enough is enough," he had said, and asserted his party cannot wait a single second for a Congress proposal.

The Lok Sabha election is slated for 12 May in Delhi.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)

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