Growing fear in Congress that Muslims might desert it for AAP
Amid growing fears that Muslims might desert the party for the Aam Aadmi Party in the Lok Sabha elections here, Congress leaders on Thursday targeted AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal’s “secular credentials”.
Accusing the AAP of trying to “divide secular votes to benefit the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi”, sitting MP and Congress candidate from East Delhi Sandeep Dikshit said “he understands the mindset of AAP leaders than many people and he won’t be surprised if the AAP merges with the BJP three-four years down the line”.
At an event to induct municipal councillor of Okhla (falling under the East Delhi parliamentary constituency) Shoaib Danish into the Congress, Mr. Dikshit said: “Mr. Kejriwal was in Gujarat a few days ago. He posed around 16-17 questions to Mr. Modi. All of them were related to development issues in Gujarat. Surprisingly, not a single question was related to the Gujarat riots.”
“What actions did the Gujarat Government take during the riots is the most fundamental question for any secular minded person when it comes to Mr. Modi. But Mr. Kejriwal has not spoken a word on the Gujarat riots till date,” he added.
Other Congress leaders also alleged that the AAP was in league with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and has shared the stage with people associated with the RSS, like Yoga guru Ramdev.
“Both the AAP and the BJP are one and the same. We are up against the RSS in the upcoming elections,” said Delhi Congress spokesperson Mukesh Sharma.
While the minorities have traditionally voted for the Congress in the Capital, there has been growing discomfort in the Congress, sources said, about the Muslims voting in favour of the AAP as they find the fledgling party “in a better position to defeat the BJP at least in Delhi”.
“Muslims voted for the Congress in the recently-held Assembly elections. One of the major reasons for that was that they did not believe then that the AAP was in a position to stop the surge of the BJP. However, the electoral success of the AAP, coupled with the anti-incumbency factor against the Congress is changing the scenario somewhat,” a senior Congress leader said.
“However, almost all of the Muslim-dominated seats are represented by the Congress. How many they will able to hold on to will prove crucial in the results,” he added.
Muslim voters could prove decisive in at least three parliamentary seats — North East, East Delhi and Chandni Chowk. Mr. Dikshit had got a lead of around 60,000 votes from the Okhla Assembly constituency alone in the last elections.