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Can’t rule out possibility of joining grand alliance in Lok Sabha elections: AAP

The party’s statement came after AAP’s national executive organised a day-long meeting at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.

delhi Updated: Dec 29, 2018 10:46 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP,grand alliance,Arvind kejriwal
Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai speaks to media after the party's National Executive Meet, at Civil Lines, in New Delhi, India on Friday(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said on Friday it “could not rule out the possibility” of joining a grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) of opposition parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as it said the party’s main motive was to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The party, however, said it would monitor the political situation in the country and decide later.

The party’s statement came after AAP’s national executive organised a day-long meeting at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.

Answering to questions on a grand alliance of opposition parties, AAP Delhi unit convener Gopal Rai said, “We are neither saying such an alliance cannot happen nor can we say right now that it has been formed. We will monitor the situation in the country and take a decision on a later stage according to the situation.”

Rai, who is also Delhi’s labour minister, said the party would launch a nation-wide campaign against the BJP soon. “We will fight the autocracy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah across the country and will campaign against it. AAP will contest elections in those states and constituencies where it can defeat the BJP with all certainty,” Rai said. “We will focus the party’s energy on such seats.”

Meanwhile, the party again brushed aside reports that backchannel talks were underway between the AAP and the Congress ahead of the general elections. Bhagwant Mann, AAP’s Lok Sabha MP from Punjab, said “no formal or informal” talks were going on with the Congress for an alliance.

“We are in Opposition in Punjab while the Congress is in power. Have you ever heard of the Opposition and the ruling party coming together? How will we face the people after that?” he said.

Mann added that the party is capable of contesting elections independently in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Goa and Chandigarh.

The AAP leader, however, said his personal opinion was that all secular parties should come together to fight against the BJP.

Rai said the AAP’s 22-member national executive also discussed the ongoing agrarian crisis in the country. “The BJP has cheated the farmers. But, even the Congress, that won elections in three states recently, has backtracked on its promise of 100% loan waivers. Congress’ loan waiver scheme has so many terms and conditions that it is benefiting only a handful of farmers in reality,” Rai said.

AAP’s Rajasthan leader Rampal Jat said farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are “feeling cheated” by the Congress’ loan waiver scheme.

On Saturday, the AAP will hold a meeting of its national council, which has about 400 members. The council will chalk out and pass the party’s poll strategy formally.

Reacting to a recent protest carried out by the Indian Youth Congress at AAP’s office, Rai said the act was “below the belt”. “AAP has filed a police complaint against Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken and spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee over hoardings and posters being vandalised”, he said.

First Published: Dec 29, 2018 10:46 IST