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AAP dash to stub out Cong patch-up buzz

New Delhi, May 18: The Aam Aadmi Party, which toppled the Sheila Dikshit regime in Delhi, is hoping to resurrect its 49-day government with the support of the Congress, if the grapevine is to be believed.

No formal proposal has been made yet but feelers have been sent through back channels, sources said. Both sides are apparently examining the pros and cons of a repeat tie-up to pre-empt chances of the BJP grabbing power through fresh polls or manipulation.

Late tonight, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party scrambled to stub out such a buzz. “Some media again resorting to spreading rumours. No question of forming government in Delhi. AAP has always sought re-election since resignation. It’s an absolute lie….” it said in a tweet.

The first hints of such a proposal came when some AAP leaders talked of reviving the Kejriwal government at a meeting to review its disastrous debut in the general election.

After resigning as chief minister, Kejriwal had initially pressed for a fresh election and even challenged in the top court the decision to keep the Assembly in suspended animation. But the political tide has changed since Narendra Modi’s arrival at the Centre.

The BJP has swept Delhi, winning all seven Lok Sabha seats in a clear sign of a shift in the public mood. While the AAP came a close second in all seats, the Congress clocked a poor third.

Since the fight in an Assembly election will be between the BJP and the AAP, the Congress may not like to go to the people. Some AAP leaders want to exploit this situation to resurrect its government, sources said.

The AAP has not made any formal statement because some senior leaders prefer fresh polls. They argue that Assembly election results would be different as the Modi factor would not be at play. But they do not want to face elections so soon after the BJP’s stunning Lok Sabha sweep.

Congress leaders have denied any request from the AAP. Shakeel Ahmed, the party’s Delhi in-charge, told The Telegraph: “There is no proposal before us, where is the question of examining the possibility?”

When the Delhi Congress chief, Arvinder Singh Lovely, called a meeting of state leaders this evening, everyone presumed the AAP proposal would be discussed and began lobbying against it.

So, the leadership did not raise the issue, arguing that the meeting was called to finalise programmes for Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary on May 21.

But some leaders spoke up, warning that backing the AAP a second time would be another blunder. It was conveyed to Lovely that the party would split if such a decision was even contemplated.

A leader said: “Arvind Kejriwal was a maverick who exploited the anti-Congress sentiment to win some seats in Delhi. He got established as a leader after the Congress extended support to his government….

“He is a force born out of Congress short-sightedness. If he becomes CM again, he will (get a chance to) revive his political clout that is in tatters after the general election.”

The Delhi Congress spokesperson, Mukesh Sharma, said: “There is no question of extending support to AAP to form a government again…. Kejriwal quit and left the people of Delhi in the lurch to gain political mileage in the Lok Sabha polls. As they did not succeed… they are talking about forming government again.”

Sharma continued: “Kejriwal… ensured the BJP’s sweep in Delhi through division of secular votes. There is a possibility of some AAP MLAs defecting to the BJP. If that happens, Kejriwal will be responsible.”

The BJP had won 32 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, and require only four more to form the government.