In a political tit-for-tat, both the Congress and the BJP in Delhi on Monday said senior leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had approached them and expressing their desire to join their parties.
The counter-claims by the two principal politcal opponents in the battle for Delhi came a day after the greenhorns -- AAP -- said that seven MLAs from the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP wanted to join the Arvind Kejriwal's party.
The AAP had claimed that four Congress and three BJP legislators had approached them for a place in the party. Intriguingly, the total number of supposed AAP dissidents have remained the same -- seven.
"Two very senior associates of Arvind Kejriwal want to join the Congress. I will not reveal their names but a decision will be taken soon," chief minister Sheila Dikshit's close aide Pawan Khera tweeted on Monday.
"Five senior Aam Aadmi Party workers have expressed their desire to join the BJP. I will not disclose their names though," Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel told reporters.
The AAP website on Monday had a tab, seeking public views to a question whether the party should induct the seven MLAs from the Congress and the BJP.
However, it is not the first time the AAP has made such claims. Releasing the first list of shortlisted candidates of his party, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal had told reporters that several BJP and Congress leaders wanted to contest assembly elections under his party's banner. He had also said that senior AAP leaders were discussing whether they should be inducted or not.
The Aam Aadmi Party has so far given ticket to just one municipal councillor, who earlier was a member of the BJP.
The BJP rejected AAP's claims as a gimmick. "It was done only to grab headlines. Not much was being written or telecast about the party and its activities in the past few days. Through this statement, the party has yet again managed to catch media attention," said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
An AAP spokesperson, on the other hand, said the party had sought the opinion of its volunteers on whether the party should induct Congress and BJP leaders into its fold. He said only if the volunteers cleared their induction, the party would reveal the names of the leaders.
"Ahead of elections, a lot of disgruntled workers move from one party to another in the hope of getting ticket. But no seasoned leader will move to a non-existent party. There can't be any truth in AAP's claims," said a Delhi Congress leader.