Congress-AAP talks: Numbers tell the tale

Arvind Kejriwal wants an alliance with the Congress in Haryana and Chandigarh, but AAP is not a force there

By Furquan Ameen in New Delhi
  • Published 15.04.19, 10:37 PM
  • Updated 15.04.19, 10:37 PM
  • 2 mins read
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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, Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Monday. PTI file photo

Rahul Gandhi today tweeted that the Congress was still open to an alliance with AAP in Delhi and ready to leave out four seats, but was unable to tie up because of Arvind Kejriwal's U-turn.

"An alliance between the Congress & 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," the Congress president wrote.

Rahul, however, mentioned only Delhi, when AAP has already made it clear that it wants an alliance with the Congress in Haryana and Chandigarh. In neither Haryana, nor Chandigarh does AAP have a formidable presence. 

In the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won all seven seats, but a segmentation of the vote share percentage shows that in at least five seats, that the AAP and Congress together had higher voter percentage than the BJP. These five seats are New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, South Delhi, East Delhi and North East Delhi. What is important to remember here is that the BJP in 2014 had won in many places riding what was then termed "the Modi wave", which is a missing ingredient in this election. 

In Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the BSP are also contenders. The Congress is not in alliance with either and the AAP has allied with the newly formed Jannayak Janhit Party of Dushyant Chautala, the son of Om Prakash Chautala.

In the 2014 general elections, the BJP had won seven of the 10 Haryana seats, the Congress one and the INLD two. In most of these seats, an addition of AAP's and Congress's vote share percentage of 2014 was no match for the BJP because the INLD and BSP made the contest more fragmented than the one in Delhi.

In Chandigarh, the AAP and Congress's share together was higher than the BJP's by almost 8 per cent.

The Congress and AAP have been in talks for an alliance for quite some time and every other day a senior leader from either party holds a news conference to give his/her party's position on the matter.

The seven seats in Delhi vote on May 12. The last date of filing nominations for this phase is April 23. Neither AAP, nor the Congress or the BJP has announced names for all seven seats yet.

To Rahul's words at 5.50 pm, Delhi chief minister Kejriwal tweeted a reply at 6.29 pm, asking: "Kaun sa U-turn. Abhi toh baatchit chal rahi thi (which U-turn is this? We were in the middle of talks)."

Calling Rahul's tweet "dikhawa (posturing)" Kejriwal then raised the point of an alliance outside Delhi, by saying: "It's unfortunate that in UP and in other states you are splitting the anti-Modi vote and thus helping Modi."

A tweet by former AAP leader Ashutosh summed up Congress’s reluctance in joining forces with the party outside Delhi. AAP should get real, Ashutosh said. “It has no political existence in Haryana/Chandigarh. It had some presence some time back, not any more,” he wrote. “Recently, it contested in MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, did not get even 1% vote. Delhi is only ground for AAP.”