The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will not enter into an alliance for the upcoming general elections, the Congress’ Delhi unit chief Sheila Dikshit announced on Tuesday. The decision came after Congress chief Rahul Gandhi called a meeting of all leaders of the Delhi unit to discuss the possibility of an alliance, days after the AAP announced six candidates for seven seats in Delhi, three of which are being seen as serious contenders.
Both the parties were forced to return to the drawing board to re-calibrate their electoral strategy post the Pulwama attacks and the cross-border retaliatory strikes by the Indian Air Force late last month.
The formula under discussion was to share three seats each out of seven up for grabs in the national capital. For one seat, the two parties are in talks to field a joint candidate. Names of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha were being discussed.
The AAP had been sending feelers to the Congress leadership for a pre-poll tie-up for quite a while, but was rebuffed. Delhi chief minister Kejriwal had in a recent public meeting said that he was “tired” of convincing the Congress for an alliance in the Lok Sabha elections to defeat the BJP, but it was not understanding the issue.
“We are tired of convincing the Congress to form an alliance, but they do not understand. If there is an alliance, the BJP will lose all the seven Lok Sabha seats it currently has in Delhi,” Kejriwal said at a recent rally. “I don’t know what they have in their minds,” he further said.
The efforts to bring the AAP and the Congress together were emphasised upon by other opposition parties as well. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandra Babu Naidu have spoken to the Congress on the issue.
The talks between the two parties were being seen as an attempt to enhance the index of opposition unity to squeeze the BJP in states where the ruling party drew maximum numbers in the last elections. BJP won all seven seats in Delhi in 2014.