After Congress meet to discuss Delhi strategy, INDIA ally AAP seethes at ‘going solo’ remark

No point in coalition if Congress wants to fight Lok Sabha poll in Delhi alone, says AAP following Alka Lamba’s remark

Updated - August 17, 2023 11:13 am IST

Published - August 17, 2023 01:57 am IST - NEW DELHI

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge with Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders at a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge with Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders at a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: PTI


A meeting of Congress leaders in Delhi to chart the party’s strategy for next year’s general election led to a face-off with its INDIA coalition partner, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on August 16.

A statement by Congress leader Alka Lamba — that the party will contest all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi — ticked off AAP, which said there was no point in the INDIA coalition if the Congress had made up its mind to go solo in the national capital.

Also Read |How can we be part of an alliance with Congress when it’s not ready to even meet our leader: AAP leader 

Earlier in the day, senior Congress leaders, including party president Mallikarjun Kharge, former president Rahul Gandhi, and several leaders of the Delhi unit, held a meeting in the Capital. The party’s Delhi in-charge, Deepak Babaria, told reporters that the issue of an alliance with AAP was not discussed in the meeting and that the high command will take a decision on the matter.

He also said that Ms. Lamba was not authorised to speak on alliance-related issues. “I have said that there has been no discussion on the issue of alliance. The media is trying to make mischief by putting words into her mouth to benefit the BJP. AAP will lose out if they react in such a way,” Mr. Babaria said.

Congress, AAP and 24 other parties comprise the umbrella body of Opposition parties — Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) — formed to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll.

‘Alliance pointless’

In a sharp response to Ms. Lamba’s statement, AAP chief spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said the party’s senior leadership will have to take a call on whether to attend the INDIA coalition partners’ meeting scheduled in Mumbai later this month.

“If the Congress has decided to fight elections in Delhi by itself, there is no point in the INDIA alliance. It was the Congress that approached us to form an alliance in Delhi since they do not have a presence here,” Ms. Kakkar said.

‘Opposed to AAP’

Sharing details of the Wednesday’s meeting, a senior AAP leader said, “The party leaders from Delhi spoke openly against [AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister] Arvind Kejriwal, saying he had been an unreliable ally and that they were not in favour of allying with him for the Lok Sabha polls.”

“Mr. Kharge said the Congress workers in Delhi should work to strengthen the party on the ground and not assume that they were going to ally with anyone,” the leader added.

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