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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress workers finish voting on pact with AAP, Rahul Gandhi to take final call

The Congress on Thursday completed its internal survey in which it asked booth-level workers in Delhi what they felt about a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 15, 2019 07:15 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
New Delhi
The results will be analysed by Saturday and sent to party chief Rahul Gandhi, who will take a decision on whether to contest the seven Lok Sabha seats in the Capital alone or in a pre-poll pact with the AAP , according to people familiar with the matter.(PTI)

The Congress on Thursday completed its internal survey in which it asked booth-level workers in Delhi what they felt about a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The results will be analysed by Saturday and sent to party chief Rahul Gandhi, who will take a decision on whether to contest the seven Lok Sabha seats in the Capital alone or in a pre-poll pact with the AAP , according to people familiar with the matter.

On Wednesday evening, the party released a survey for grassroots workers, asking them to vote for or against an alliance with the party led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“It is good to know what the party workers feel about an alliance. They are the people who build a party. The internal survey results will probably by Saturday be handed over to the Congress president who will then take a final call,” the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) Delhi incharge PM Chacko said on Thursday.

But the move has again brought to the fore the division within the Delhi Congress over the proposed alliance.

While Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit on Thursday that said she was not aware of any such survey, former Union minister Ajay Maken said that the opinion of the workers was sought on the directions of the Congress chief.

Maken said: “Shakti App [the party’s internal crowd-sourcing tool has been utilised on the directions of Rahul Gandhi to reach out to all 52,000 workers. Questioning Rahul Gandhi’s decision is wrong.”

A recorded message on the app asks party workers: “To defeat the BJP, should the Congress agree for an alliance with AAP in Delhi? To vote ‘yes’ press one, to vote ‘no’ press two.”

A section in the Delhi Congress has urged the central leadership to strike a seat-sharing deal with the AAP and prevent the division of anti-BJP votes. “It is important for all the secular parties to unite and join hands to defeat the communal forces. We think the alliance will make the BJP bite the dust in Delhi,” senior Congress leader Hassan Ahmed said.

AAP’s Delhi unit convener Gopal Rai said it is too late for any talks on the alliance in Delhi. He insisted that the AAP has now “moved ahead” with its poll issue of full statehood.

“The Congress is progressing quite slowly compared to the challenge that the country is facing today. After the official statement of the Congress last week, AAP thought if Congress is moving towards helping BJP, we need to stop the BJP,” Rai told reporters, adding that the AAP has now moved ahead with its agenda of full statehood for Delhi.

Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said the Congress is in a “confused state.” He said,“Instead of protecting the country from the BJP, the Congress is giving different statements every day.”

Another AAP functionary, on the condition of anonymity, said their top leadership is in talks with the Congress and that an official word on a tie-up could come in a few days.

“All AAP leaders have been asked to speak on the matter only after the Congress officially announces an alliance with us,” the functionary cited above. He said his party has been willing to agree to Congress’s formula of having three candidates each from the two parties and fielding one common candidate.

Earlier this month, the AAP named candidates for six of the seven seats in Delhi. The Congress has not named anyone.

Reacting to the speculation of an alliance between the AAP and the Congress, Union minister Vijay Goel, “The AAP came to power by leveling corruption charges against the Congress, especially Sheila Dikshit. Now, the two corrupt parties are planning to form an alliance to defeat the BJP. This is nothing but an admission by the two parties that they can’t counter the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.”

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 01:25 IST