The Congress on Tuesday reiterated that there will be no alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The elections will be held this summer.
“A unanimous decision was taken that there will be no alliance,” Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit said, NDTV reported. The decision was taken following a two-hour meeting between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several state leaders on Tuesday afternoon. “The decision was taken in the presence of Rahul Gandhi, it is final,” Dikshit told reporters.
The announcement came amid reports that back-channel talks were on to put together a united alliance to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party. Several Opposition leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, were reportedly urging the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party to form an alliance.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed the Congress has refused an alliance with the AAP because it has a “secret understanding” with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
“At a time when the whole country wants to defeat Modi- Shah duo, Cong [Congress] is helping BJP by splitting anti-BJP vote,” the AAP chief wrote on Twitter. “Rumours r [are] that Cong [Congress] has some secret understanding wid [with] BJP. Delhi is ready to fight against Cong-BJP alliance. People will defeat this unholy alliance.”
On Saturday, the Aam Aadmi Party had announced candidates for six of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies of Delhi. The party said Congress President Rahul Gandhi had refused a proposal for an alliance during a meeting of Opposition parties in February.
“We wanted an alliance. But the way [Congress Delhi chief] Sheila Dikshit refused it, we felt there is no more time to wait as elections are near,” AAP leader Gopal Rai said. He added that the Aam Aadmi Party still feels that “there should be one candidate of the Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party, not only in Delhi but in other states also”.
Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had last week said his party was preparing to contest the Lok Sabha elections alone as the Congress has ruled out an alliance with it. He had earlier claimed he was “tired of trying to convince the Congress” for an alliance. But the next day, Sheila Dikshit claimed the Aam Aadmi Party had never approached her outfit for an alliance in the national Capital.
“When did AAP ever come to us,” she had asked. “If Arvind [Kejriwal] wants an alliance, then he should directly speak to me. I want to ask Arvind Kejriwal on what basis he made that statement. Because he has never once spoken on this with us. We never had any talks.”