For the Congress, there is much more in AAP than mere Delhi politics, says an AICC member

With senior leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party repeatedly insisting that they would pass the Jan Lokpal Bill for Delhi and get the scams during the 15-year Congress rule investigated, some leaders within the Congress are very worried. Their fear is that once the party had supported the AAP, it would be extremely difficult for it to bring it down.

“On the face of it, it would appear that the Congress would be in the position to pull the rug under the feet of the AAP at any point of time. But that would not be the case. There are two reasons for this: one being that upon gaining a vote of confidence on the floor of the House, the AAP would not have to confront another trust vote for the next six months. And secondly, if it were to start investigating corruption cases against the Congress, it would be imprudent to expect the BJP to vote against it in such a scenario,” said an All India Congress Committee member.

The Congress leader said just the way his party and the BJP could not come together to form a party in Delhi – as they have never allied anywhere else in the country too – it would be improbable to expect them to jointly vote against AAP, that too at a time when it would be seeking to cleanse the polity of Delhi.

Another party leader said even if the Congress were to withdraw support from AAP, it could keep functioning as a minority government till the next vote of confidence. “The question here is whether at that point of time BJP would want to bring it down. Obviously BJP would only want to bring about the downfall of the AAP Government when it would feel confident that it had enough support of the people to form a government on its own in Delhi. At such a moment, would the Congress then be prepared to help BJP realize its dream?”

AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress is not really worried about AAP opening up any cases of corruption that may have taken place in the past. “The party had in its 18-point letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi also referred to this issue and stated that its taking support does not mean that it would provide any relaxation in case any evidence of corruption was found against a leader of the Congress.”

Mr. Ahmed said these issues had been discussed by the Congress at the time of extending its support to AAP. “There was a difference of opinion then too within the party, but still a decision was taken.”

There is a growing view within the Congress that party vice-president Rahul Gandhi does not want any wrongdoers to be protected or the party to be shielding them, especially at a time when he has just ensured the smooth passage of the Lokpal Bill. So the protests by supporters of some former Delhi Ministers.

Moreover, the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party has augured well for the Congress in some respects. Most importantly, it checked the surge of the BJP in Delhi. And now the Congress believes that AAP could act as a double edged sword which would ultimately harm the BJP more in the parliamentary elections and could end up significantly checking Narendra Modi’s surge in the Hindi heartland.

“For the Congress, there is much more in AAP than mere Delhi politics. It sees in the party a strong weapon to counter the growth of BJP under Modi. So Congress is also seeing AAP as its enemy’s enemy,” said the AICC member.

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