Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said his party was still open to an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi. “An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP,” he tweeted. “The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this.”
Gandhi said that Arvind Kejriwal had made a U-turn, although the AAP had blamed the lack of an alliance on the Congress. He added that time was “running out”.
In response, Kejriwal tweeted that Rahul Gandhi’s tweet shows that the Congress does not really want an alliance. “It is important to save the country from the danger of Modi-Shah,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that you are helping Modi by dividing votes in Uttar Pradesh and other states.”
“What U-turn? The talks were still going on,” Kejriwal said.
On Friday, the Congress had announced it would contest all seven seats in the Capital on its own as alliance negotiations with AAP had fallen through. Congress leader PC Chacko had said, however, that they were still open to tying up with Kejriwal’s party. Chacko had said AAP wanted an alliance in Haryana and Punjab as well, because of which talks had failed. “On pro rata basis, the Congress should get three seats while the Aam Aadmi Party should contest on four seats in Delhi. This was the understanding in talks with Sanjay Singh,” he had said.
Soon after Gandhi tweeted, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that in Punjab, where AAP has four MPs and 20 MLAs, the Congress did not want to give them any seats, while in Haryana, where Congress has only one MP, they refused to share any seats with AAP. “In Delhi where Congress has 0 MLAs, 0 MPs, they want 3 seats from us – is this how a deal happens? Why don’t you want to stop the BJP in other states?”
“By forming an alliance on 31 seats in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh, you can finish the chances of Modi returning to power,” he added. “Congress, do you want to keep Modi’s chances of winning alive?”
AAP’s Delhi convenor Gopal Rai has also criticised the Congress for not giving it more seats in Haryana and Punjab.
Gandhi’s tweet comes a day before the poll notification for the elections in Delhi is put out by the Election Commission. The last day to file nominations for the May 12 election is April 23. The Congress has released three names for the polls, while AAP has released names of all seven candidates. None of them have filed their nominations yet. The BJP has not announced its candidates in Delhi.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and some Congress leaders have pushed for an alliance between the two parties for several weeks now, though Kejriwal had once claimed his party would win all seven seats without the help of Gandhi’s party.