Aam Aadmi Party leader Alka Lamba today threw a question at her party about what she claimed was the futility of a mahagathbandhan when the election issues of the Congress and the AAP were not aligned. Any simmering tension between the legislator and the party also resurfaced today when she and another AAP leader exchanged passive aggressive tweets over pursuing full statehood for Delhi.
"Every party has a manifesto. The Congress manifesto talks about giving statehood to Puducherry (a Union Territory) but there is no mention about Delhi. It's now clear that statehood for Delhi is no longer an issue for the Congress. But the AAP has made statehood for Delhi its main election issue. So how is the grand alliance possible?" Alka Lamba tweeted today, referring to the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's unsuccessful attempt to tie-up with the Congress in Delhi for the national elections that will start on April 11.
Mr Kejriwal on Monday had said Congress chief Rahul Gandhi refused to enter into an alliance with the AAP. The bureaucrat-turned-politician's proposal was not welcomed by former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was chief minister of the national capital for three terms since 1998, citing "long-term repercussions". The AAP had unseated the Congress in the Delhi elections in 2015.
"What do you want? Full statehood or..." AAP legislator and party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted back at Ms Lamba.
She replied: "What difference does it makes by what I want. The time to ask this question has passed. Now it's the people of Delhi who will decide."
Mr Bharadwaj shot back, "The people should know what their leader wants, only then they will be able to decide the future of their leader."
Ms Lamba, who in the past has had arguments with Mr Bharadwaj, including over allegations that she was looking for reasons to quit the party, came back with a long reply: "My supporters know me very well. When 2020 comes (next Delhi assembly elections) I will tell what I think and give a summary of results of five years. My thinking and AAP's is different. A leader must fully understand what the people think and want and do that, but should not impose his or her idea on them."
In February, when Ms Lamba, who is the legislator from Chandni Chowk, claimed that Mr Kejriwal stopped following her on Twitter, Mr Bharadwaj retorted that it the chief minister's choice who he wanted to follow on the microblogging website.
She was in the news in December last year after reports surfaced that she was asked to leave by the party, which the AAP later denied. She reportedly opposed a resolution in the Delhi assembly that sought to withdraw the Bharat Ratna awarded to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi over his alleged failure to stop the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The AAP later said only an amendment seeking to withdraw the award was added to the original resolution by AAP legislator Somnath Bharti and the resolution was not passed.
But it did not stop there. Ms Lamba alleged that she was removed from a WhatsApp group of the AAP, in what could be a harbinger of souring ties with her party. "I have a strong feeling that the party does not need my services at all," she said in February.
The people of Delhi will vote in a single phase on May 12. Results will be out on May 23.
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