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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: It’s a 3-way contest as AAP, Congress fail to unite

Looking back at the months that went in negotiations, AAP senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said “the process was not easy”.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 27, 2019 10:36 IST
Sweta Goswami and Soumya Pillai
Sweta Goswami and Soumya Pillai
New Delhi
It is official, there will be no alliance between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections as withdrawal of candidature in Delhi ended on Friday.
It is official, there will be no alliance between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections as withdrawal of candidature in Delhi ended on Friday.(ANI)
         

It is official, there will be no alliance between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections as withdrawal of candidature in Delhi ended on Friday. Both parties, despite multiple rounds of talks for a tie-up over the last two months, have finally decided to field their own candidates, making the contest in Delhi a triangular one.

Looking back at the months that went in negotiations, in which other prominent opposition parties including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) also got involved, AAP senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said “the process was not easy”.

“All of it feels like a waste now. Fortunately, we were actively working on our Plan B since March 1, which was to announce our candidates early and begin campaigning for full statehood in full swing,” said Singh, who was in talks with the Congress and other parties to forge an alliance.

During AAP’s manifesto launch on Thursday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi saying he would be solely responsible if the BJP comes back to power in this election as well.

Congress leaders, however, said the alliance talks falling through caught them off guard. Senior leaders said the party
had delayed its candidate selection process in the “hope of a tie-up” which also pushed its campaigning.

“Relying on the alliance made the Congress miss out on a lot of campaign planning. All the paid advertisement space has now been booked by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the AAP for their hoardings. All our senior leaders were involved in talks and we did not want to withdraw anyone’s candidature after declaring their names. So, we waited, but to no avail,” said a senior Delhi Congress leader, who did not wish to be named.

AAP’s Gopal Rai said the party took over a month to convince its workers and volunteers for joining hands with the Congress.

“Our workers and volunteers had reached out to party chief Arvind Kejriwal expressing their displeasure over AAP’s repeated pleas to the Congress for an alliance. We had to hold meetings with them for one-on-one interaction to explain that a tie-up was aimed at defeating the BJP rule in the Centre,” he said.

On Friday, both the parties engaged in a war of words and claimed they had a “direct fight” with the BJP, which won on all Delhi seats in the 2014 general elections.

All India Congress Committee Delhi in-charge PC Chacko said, “The deal was to have an alliance in Delhi and we agreed on three seats for us and four for them despite being a national party,” he said.

AAP’s Singh said that the Congress party was only “playing with formulas”.

“A Delhi-only pact on 4:3 basis was impossible for us as the Congress doesn’t have a single MLA or MP here. The Congress needs to wake up,” he said.

While the Congress has fielded heavyweights such three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit (North East), former two-time MP Ajay Maken (New Delhi), and professional boxer Vijender Singh (South), the AAP has reposed its faith in fresh faces on all the seven parliamentary seats in the national Capital, Atishi (East), Raghav Chadha (South) and Dilip Pandey (North East).

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 05:58 IST

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