No question of alliance with AAP for 2019, says Maken

Ajay Maken. File   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

At a time when the Congress is advocating for Opposition unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the president of its Delhi unit, Ajay Maken, on Saturday ruled out any alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Capital.

“Whether it is for two, three or four seats, the Congress leaders and workers do not want any alliance with the AAP. There is no question of it,” Mr. Maken said.

After months of persistent rumours that senior leaders of the Congress were in talks with the AAP about a pre-poll alliance, Mr. Maken and AAP leader Dilip Pandey traded charges via Twitter on Friday.

Mr. Maken said that the AAP’s “so-called offer” of three seats for the Congress came at a time, “when the people of Delhi are continuously rejecting Kejriwal Govt, why should we come to their rescue?... [sic].”

Mr. Pandey replied saying that some senior leaders of the Congress were in touch with the Aam Aadmi Party and that they had asked for his party’s support in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana.

He added that the Congress leaders had asked for only one seat out of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

When asked whether senior Congress leaders had been in touch with the AAP, Mr. Maken said: “I consider myself senior. There has been no such decision to tie- up with the AAP.”

Maken attacks Kejriwal

Mr. Maken added that AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was “responsible for making Narendra Modi the Prime Minister” so the Congress would not align with the AAP to contest against the BJP.

“It was Mr. Kejriwal, who with Baba Ramdev and Kiran Bedi, attacked the Congress and paved the way for Mr. Modi,” said Mr. Maken, referring to the anti-corruption movement that preceded the formation of the AAP.

He added that the Congress had been able to increase its vote-share from 9.7% in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections to 21.21% in the 2017 municipal polls, while the AAP’s vote-share had reduced from 54.3% to 26.21%.

There is no reason for the Congress to align with the AAP, he said.

The AAP did not comment on any possible alliance with the Congress in Delhi. In fact, the party on Friday announced the names of five leaders who would be in-charge of five Lok Sabha seats. The remaining two would follow soon, sources said.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the party favoured “Opposition parties” uniting against “those who spread hatred”. He did not comment on the Congress.

Congress sources said the state leadership would take up the issue with party president Rahul Gandhi, who was expected to return to India on Sunday.

Possible interlocutors

Multiple sources in the Congress and the AAP said that the names of Congress leaders Manish Tewari, Sandeep Dikshit and Jairam Ramesh had come up as possible interlocutors.

When asked about Mr. Tewari, Mr. Maken said: “He is not an office-bearer”.

Mr. Dikshit, the former East Delhi MP and the son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, on Saturday, posted a YouTube video hitting out at the AAP government over its work in the education sector.

Mr. Dikshit singled out the former advisor to Education Minister Manish Sisodia, Atishi Marlena, asking her where the enhanced funding for education had been used, given the fact that the drop-out and enrolment numbers for government schools had fallen.

Ms. Marlena has been made in-charge of the East Delhi seat for the AAP and is the front-runner for the ticket.


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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:44:23 PM |

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