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Shadowboxing by Congress, AAP

AAP hints it could be part of a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance in states other than Delhi, Haryana, Punjab
Newly appointed Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit and her predecessor Ajay Maken

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 18.01.19, 11:09 PM

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday announced that it would not ally with the Congress and that it would contest all seats in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab on its own in the Lok Sabha elections.

The AAP also indicated that it would be part of a possible non-Congress, non-BJP alliance in the other states.

Sources in the AAP and the Congress claimed that informal talks had been on since last June for an understanding for the general election.

The AAP, however, has cited comments by newly appointed Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, her predecessor Ajay Maken and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh ruling out the possibility of a tie-up to announce that the party would go it alone.

The AAP, which rules Delhi, has four MPs from Punjab and has been eyeing Haryana, from where party chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal hails.

AAP Delhi convener and minister Gopal Rai cited the comments of Dikshit and Amarinder and said: “The AAP struggled against the corruption of the Congress and brought the 15-year-old Congress government of Sheila Dikshit to zero.

“But the way Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have established a dictatorship, attempted to finish all democratic voices and depose Delhi’s government elected by an overwhelming majority, and created an atmosphere of terror in the country had given rise to a feeling that everyone should unite to liberate the country from the Modi-Shah duo’s dictatorship.”

Rai said the leaders of several Opposition parties, including Trinamul’s Mamata Banerjee, had encouraged the AAP to join a national alliance against the BJP.

“They said that despite differences with the Congress, in the national interest you should unite and fight elections. And for the country, despite disagreement within the party in Punjab and Delhi, a vision emerged that we are willing to drink the poison of the Congress…. But the way the Congress in-charge of the two states have spoken, it seems that for the Congress their arrogance is greater than the country,” Rai said.

He added: “Hence, keeping in mind the circumstances, the AAP has decided… that we will fight all seats in these three states and further strengthen our campaign to defeat all seven MPs of the BJP to strengthen Arvind Kejriwal. All candidates in Delhi will be announced soon. Our campaign in Punjab will be launched on January 20 from Barnala, with a big rally which Arvind Kejriwal will attend.”

Attacking Dikshit for her interview in The Indian Express on Thursday where the former chief minister had said that giving free electricity and water “is not feasible in a city like Delhi”, Rai said: “It shows that the Congress has not understood the public mandate and insists on going back to its old ways. We will join like-minded parties across the country to defeat the BJP in Delhi, and form a government against the BJP at the Centre.”

AAP sources said that Diskhit’s constant attacks on the party this week suggested that it was not her individual opinion but that of her party’s.


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