The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress crossed swords on Wednesday over contesting the Lok Sabha elections together in the capital. Following an emergency organisational meeting presided over by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi with Delhi unit leaders, senior party leader Alka Lamba said, “We spoke on strengthening the organisation and preparing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There are seven months and seven seats. Every leader has to start from today on all these seats with whatever responsibility is being assigned.” The statement drew a sharp reaction from AAP.
“If the Congress has decided that it will not come together for an alliance with us in Delhi, there is no point in attending the INDIA alliance meeting and wasting time,” AAP spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said. “Our central leadership will decide this… Our political affairs committee and INDIA parties will sit together and discuss this,” AAP Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said. AAP sources said senior party leaders will reach out to the Congress to get clarity on its stand regarding a tie-up for the 2024 polls.
Congress sources, however, said the only direction from the high command was that the party prepare organisationally in all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi. “Today’s meeting was not on alliance formation in Delhi, nothing was discussed about it.
The AAP can make assumptions but decision on alliance will be taken by the AICC central leadership and it will be announced by them,” said Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary. “What a possible alliance with the AAP, if there is one, will look like is under the ambit of the high command, which will decide the way forward… There was no discussion regarding it today
We only discussed how to possibly give voice to issues being faced by the average citizen of the city,” said Deepak Barbaria, the AICC in-charge for Delhi and Haryana. “Our meeting today revolved around the party’s strategy for the 2024 parliamentary elections, the issues related to it and the way forward… Representatives from several sections of society were a part of the meeting and spoke unequivocally that the same Delhi which had prospered under Sheila Diskhit ji has now become directionless,” he said. “In view of the Lok Sabha elections, a consultation was held with the leaders of the Delhi Congress today.
Revitalisation of Delhi Congress is our priority, in which participation of all leaders and workers is necessary. We had made Delhi prosperous and happy, our struggle for the people of Delhi continues even further,” Kharge said after the meeting. “The Congress is dedicated to strengthening the voice of the people of Delhi and ensuring the progress of Delhi,” said Gandhi in a Facebook post, adding that a meeting of Delhi Congress leaders was held under the chairmanship of Kharge.
“We, as an opposition party here, will raise questions about corruptions,” Chaudhary said. It was the Congress that protested against liquor policy during 'Pol Khol Yatra', which led to the arrest of (former minister) Satyendar Jain, Chaudhary said. The Congress will always question Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal whenever it concerns the safety and protection of the people of Delhi, he said.