The Aam Aadmi Party on Friday said there was no possibility of such an alliance “in 2019 or beyond”, rejecting a call by regional party leaders to come together for a tie-up with the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, The Indian Express reported.
“The [Delhi] Chief Minister [Arvind Kejriwal] has been repeatedly saying that voting for the Congress will strengthen the BJP’s prospects,” the party’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said. “There is no question of an alliance in 2019 and or beyond.”
The party will contest all seats in Delhi, Punjab and Goa, said Bhardwaj. “The Congress should not be under any illusion that we want an alliance,” he said.
Gopal Rai, the Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi unit convener, conceded that the party had considered an alliance with the Congress, PTI reported. “In the interest of the country, we were ready to drink the poison of Congress, but its statements show that the Congress is still seeped in its arrogance,” he said. “The AAP will contest all Lok Sabha seats in the three states on its own.”
Regional party leaders have been trying to get several players to form an alliance to fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. On December 10, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president MK Stalin had met Aam Aadmi Party president Kejriwal, asking him to reconsider his opposition to the Congress and join forces to stand against the BJP in the general elections. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and president of the Telugu Desam Party N Chandrababu Naidu has also been trying to rally support for an anti-BJP front.
The Aam Aadmi Party said that its Delhi and Punjab units “have always been against any such understanding”, The Indian Express reported quoting a party official. “The recent hostile statements by [Punjab Chief Minister] Amarinder Singh and [Delhi Congress Chief] Sheila Dikshit have strengthened our position,” the official was quoted as saying. “We will convey this message to other parties.”
Rai said that “like-minded leaders” like National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, MK Stalin, Chandrababu Naidu and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had urged AAP to form an alliance with Congress “despite disagreements”, in the interest of the country. However, statements made by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Congress’ Delhi unit chief Sheila Dikshit – that AAP is a small party – showed the Congress’ arrogance, he claimed.
But Delhi Congress Working President Devender Yadav claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party had been ‘running after’ his party for a tie-up, and had backed out after it declined the offer. Dikshit, on the other hand, refused to comment on Rai’s remarks.
The Indian Express had reported that Kejriwal was likely to announce the party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha elections soon.