Lok Sabha elections 2019: Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal take Delhi alliance hardball to Twitter
Delhi votes on May 12. The nomination process begins on Tuesday, and the last day is April 23. Candidates can withdraw their nominations until April 26. Over the last month, alliance talks between the AAP and the Congress have appeared to be dead every other day through statements given by leaders of the two parties, only to revive soon after.Updated: Apr 16, 2019 03:10 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The uncertainty over a possible tie-up between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls was heightened on Monday, with Rahul Gandhi appearing to blame Arvind Kejriwal for the failure to seal an agreement, and the Delhi CM in turn accusing the Congress president of not being serious about the alliance.
Speaking about the contours of the discussions for the first time, Gandhi tweeted that the Congress offered the AAP four seats (out of seven) in Delhi and said the doors are “still open” though the “the clock is running out” .
However, Gandhi’s remark that “Kejriwal has done yet another U-turn” rubbed the AAP national convener the wrong way. The Twitter conversation began at 5.50pm when Gandhi wrote: “An alliance between the Congress and AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this. But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn! Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out.”
Kejriwal replied at 6.29pm: “What U-turn? The talks were still going on. Your statement shows that an alliance is not your desire, it is mere rhetoric. It is sad that you are making these comments. Today it is important to save the country from the danger of Modi-Shah. It is unfortunate that you are also dividing anti-Modi votes in UP and other states to help them.”
Delhi votes on May 12. The nomination process begins on Tuesday, and the last day is April 23. Candidates can withdraw their nominations until April 26.
Over the last month, alliance talks between the AAP and the Congress have appeared to be dead every other day through statements given by leaders of the two parties, only to revive soon after.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel indicated the hitch was in expanding the alliance to outside of Delhi.”We wish to set the record straight, despite opposition from our state unit, the Congress president convinced them to work out a formula to collaborate with AAP in Delhi. But AAP insisted for seats in Haryana,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying. “Our proposition still stands, the ball is in their court,” he added.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who has been pushing for an alliance between the AAP and the Congress, is scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Wednesday to intervene again. According to a senior AAP functionary who asked not to be named, Pawar is likely to hold a joint meeting of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh.
Apart from Pawar, Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury are pushing the two parties to come together in Delhi.
According to a Congress functionary, the talks are mainly stuck over Haryana.
The AAP said last week it favoured a broad-based alliance with the Congress not only in Delhi or Haryana but also in Punjab, Goa and Chandigarh, which comes to 33 Lok Sabha seats.
The AAP also demanded that five out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana – three for the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) of Dushyant Chautala and two for itself.
While the Congress rejected any alliance in Punjab, Goa and Chandigarh, it was willing to concede one seat each for the AAP and the JJP in Haryana, the Congress functionary cited above said.
The AAP also made a 5-2 offer in Delhi if the Congress was not ready for seat-sharing in any other state, he added.
First Published: Apr 16, 2019 03:10 IST