The Congress’ Delhi unit and party chief Rahul Gandhi held a meeting on an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday, however, failed to reach a consensus. This threw the ball into Rahul’s court with the other leaders saying the party chief would take the final call. Both AAP and Congress are working on a tie-up even as they continued to deny any tie-up in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. NCP leader Sharad Pawar is playing a key role in bringing the two together.
Sources said the Congress leadership is also in talks with AAP leaders and senior leaders within the party are trying to convince the Delhi Congress for an alliance with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, as reported by News 18. Last month, AAP leader Gopal Rai had said that their party will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections alone. He also said as quoted by news agency ANI, "For Congress, their arrogance is bigger than national interest, it is visible from recent statements of Punjab CM and Sheila Dikshitji." It was being widely speculated that the AAP would contest the elections with the Congress to pip the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Rai's statement has put all such speculations to rest.
However, AAP leader Gopal Rai said, "The Congress is confused about the alliance and they don't know what to do. We had extended our hands toward the Congress but they didn't accept it. No one from the Congress approached us. We are very clear on our stand and the public is clear, too. We want full statehood for Delhi."
The Congress had earlier decided to go alone in Delhi after talks with AAP failed and local leaders favoured that the party contests Lok Sabha polls alone. The Delhi Congress leaders felt that "saving" the party was crucial in Delhi in view of impending assembly elections in the state slated later.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Congress, PC Chacko, had said: "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 an alliance with AAP, that’s the thinking of majority of leaders."
The statement from Chacko came days after Delhi Congress chief Shiela Dikshit wrote to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, advising him against joining hands with the AAP. Last week, Dikshit and three working presidents Haroon Yusuf, Devender Yadav and Rajesh Lilothia had urged the Congress president not to tie up with the AAP and said that the decision would harm the party in the long run.