Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wants to do the Bharatiya Janata Party a favour by sabotaging Opposition unity, Congress leader Ajay Maken alleged on Sunday.

The former Congress MP from New Delhi alleged that Kejriwal was trying to help the BJP in order to evade imprisonment on corruption charges.

After a meeting last week of the Opposition parties to plan the strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party had said it would be difficult for it to be part of any alliance if the Congress does not oppose the Centre’s ordinance on the control of administrative services in the national capital.

The Aam Aadmi Party has been trying to muster up support from all Opposition parties to oppose the ordinance promulgated by the Centre in May to create the National Capital Civil Service Authority, which gives the body the power to administer the transfer and posting of bureaucrats serving the Delhi government. The ordinance nullified a Supreme Court verdict stating that the Aam Aadmi Party government in the national capital has legislative power over bureaucrats in all departments other than public order, police and land.

The Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to rally all Opposition parties to vote against the provision when it is introduced in the form of a bill in the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP does not have a majority. The bid will not come to fruition if the Congress does not oppose the bill.

In a video message on Sunday, Maken alleged that Kejriwal has betrayed the Congress in the past and his words about Opposition unity “are not for cohesion but a calculated move to sabotage it and curry favour with the BJP”.

Maken said that Aam Aadmi Party leaders have put conditions even before entering into any alliance and criticised Congress leaders openly. “To brazenly criticise and then demand support, is this how alliances are sought, Mr. Kejriwal?” Maken wrote in his tweet.

Responding to Maken, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said that he and Congress leader Sandip Dikshit had earlier voiced support for the Centre’s Ordinance. She also questioned the Congress on why it could not defeat the BJP in state elections where the Aam Aadmi Party did not contest.

“Mr Maken, respect is a two way street,” wrote in her tweet.