New Delhi: Efforts for a pre-poll tie up between Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress for the seven Lok Sabha seats of the Capital have virtually ended up without reaching any understanding.
The main reason behind the talks going bust is serious reservations in the Delhi Congress about entering into any alliance with AAP, which, as per the assessment of party leaders, will face massive anti-incumbency in the upcoming polls alongside similar situation that awaits the BJP in Delhi.
All the seven MPs from the Union Territory of Delhi are from the BJP since 2014 when the last Lok Sabha polls were held.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been a strong votary of alliance not only in Delhi but also through the better part of the country among parties opposed to the BJP.
A few days ago Kejriwal made his resentment against the Congress public by speaking about it on a TV show. The lukewarm response to his desire to enter into a pre-poll tie up with Congress has also been made known by him on other occasions too.
Thus, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Sheila Dikshit called a meeting of her party colleagues at her residence on Thursday where her proposal for an electoral understanding with AAP was nearly shot down by the Grand Old Party leaders.
The critics of efforts to ally with AAP mainly wanted to avenge the defeat of Congress at the hands of Kejriwal’s party throughout Delhi in February 2015 Assembly polls when Congress could not win even a single seat of the 70 Vidhan Sabha constituencies. Sheila had herself lost the polls in her Gole Market constituency, where she was challenged by none other but Kejriwal himself.
This is all the more glaring since both BJP and main protagonists of what later became AAP were catapulted to power one after the other by throwing their weight behind Anna Hazare’s anti-graft crusade in 2012. The fierce movement against graft had brought the veteran Gandhian to Delhi from his Ralegan Siddhi village in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar.
Though Anna’s movement had propelled both the BJP and AAP to power at the Centre and in Delhi it also created a breach between his supporters. With time this turned into faultlines that keep the two parties deeply divided even today.
Thus, Kejriwal fears loss through a triangular contest in the Lok Sabha again after 2014 without taking Cong on board via an alliance between the two parties. The Cong has been cold to this mainly, as it does not want to be a junior partner like AAP. Yet, Sheila took over has been warming up for reaching an understanding with AAP before the next LS polls.