Dismissing reports of an alliance with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said today they were ready for a partnership to "save the country from dictatorship", but changed its minds after adverse comments by Congress leaders. Alleging that the Congress was not thinking about the nation, AAP said there would be no alliance in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
"We were ready to drink poison (compromise with the Congress). But now, we have decided that AAP will contest on all seats in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana with its full strength and will not have any alliance with the Congress," AAP leader Gopal Rai was quoted by IANS as saying.
"Several like-minded parties were coming together and even though not being in favour of Congress, they have decided to join hands. We, too, were ready to think about joining hands to save the nation from the dictatorship of (Narendra) Modi-(Amit) Shah," he said.
"But the way Punjab CM Amarinder Singh issued statement that the AAP does not have any value in Punjab and the way (Congress Delhi Chief) Sheila Dikshit said that the AAP is a small party unlike Congress which is a national party and they will not have any sort of compromise with us," he added.
After meeting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi earlier this month, Amarinder Singh had said AAP had become defunct in Punjab. "AAP has become defunct, with no identity now in Punjab, as against the situation prevailing in the last Lok Sabha elections," he said.
Sheila Dikshit, who became Congress's Delhi unit chief this month, recently attacked AAP over a resolution on former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the Delhi assembly.
"The way they talked about Rajiv Gandhi in the assembly... we were hurt by it and it was not right," she said. "There have been no talks with AAP," she added, responding to questions.
In December, the Delhi Assembly adopted by voice vote a resolution which called for speedy trial of cases and termed anti-Sikh riots as genocide. AAP leader Jarnail Singh, while moving the resolution, had said the Bharat Ratna to Rajiv Gandhi should be withdrawn for "justifying anti-Sikh riots". Mr Singh had later said that the resolution was adopted.
After it kicked up a row, the assembly speaker clarified the resolution was not adopted as Mr Singh did not inform the House beforehand.
The Congress was in talks with several regional parties for a pan-India, anti-BJP alliance for Lok Sabha elections. There were reports that the AAP -- led by the Congress's bitter critic Arvind Kejriwal-- was also in talks with the party.
BSP's Mayawati and SP's Akhilesh Yadav -- who were also part of talks for a grand alliance -- have left the Congress out of their alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
With inputs from agencies