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Will they or won’t they: Congress, AAP give out mixed signals over talks on alliance

AAP leader Dilip Pandey claimed the Congress reached out to the party while Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said they were not in favour it.

delhi Updated: Jun 02, 2018 13:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,AAP,Delhi
Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Dilip Pandey claimed on Friday that the Congress had got in touch with them for a coalition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

The Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, however, said they were some discussions but the Delhi unit was not in favour of it.

Rumours of AAP’s possible tie-up with the Congress were rife in political circles after the AAP appointed five Lok Sabha in-charges (prabharis) for parliamentary constituencies of Delhi.

The appointments were made only on five out of seven constituency seats in Delhi while leaving two seats vacant as of now. These gave rise to speculation that these two seats could have been left for the Congress.

“They reached out to us. On the basis of municipal election results, they were giving us three parliament seats but the Delhi unit did not approve the idea. It was AAP, which created vicious atmosphere against Congress in Delhi that helped Narendra Modi to reach Delhi,” Maken said.

Maken said that as the AAP had failed outside Delhi, they were keen to have alliance with Congress in the Capital.

“They (Aam Aadmi Party ) are nowhere outside Delhi. They have failed on all front(s) be it sealing or water. No development has taken place in Delhi in three years. We supported Arvind Kejriwal government in 2013. The decision damaged our party. We were left with zero seats in national capital,” Maken said.

Earlier in the day, Maken tweeted that people in Delhi were continuously rejecting the Kejriwal government so there was no need for the Congress to come to their rescue.

Replying to Maken’s statement on Twitter, AAP’s spokesperson Dilip Pandey said Congress leaders were in touch with the party for its support in the general elections, 2019.

“Ajay Makenji, some senior Congress leaders are in our touch and they want our support in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi (in Lok Sabha elections). They are demanding one seat from us in Delhi,” Pandey said in a tweet.

Corroborating the development, a senior AAP leader privy to the matter said the talks were on for one seat but the party had not yet decided whether to support or arrive at a coalition arrangement with Congress.

Five senior leaders of AAP have been assigned separate parliamentary constituencies for ‘micro focus’ on Delhi’s parliament seats and strengthening the party’s hold further. The leaders who were appointed as in-charge are Pankaj Gupta (Chandni Chowk), Dilip Kumar Pandey (North East Delhi), Raghav Chadhha (South Delhi), Atishi Marlena (East Delhi) and Guggan Singh Ranga (North West Delhi).

Party’s Delhi convener Gopal Rai said, “We are appointing them as prabharis to further strengthen the party at the booth level. They will focus on further building up the organisation in the respective Lok Sabha seats.”

A senior Congress leader, who wished not to be named, said no formal talks were on between the parties over a coalition with the Aam Aadmi Party.

First Published: Jun 02, 2018 12:45 IST