Arvind Kejriwal Says Congress, AAP "Mutually Agreed" To Go Solo In Punjab

Arvind Kejriwal said the AAP is in talks with the Congress to finalise seat-sharing in Delhi

Arvind Kejriwal Says Congress, AAP 'Mutually Agreed' To Go Solo In Punjab

Arvind Kejriwal has said AAP and Congress had mutually agreed to go solo in Punjab

New Delhi:

The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had "mutually agreed" to contest Lok Sabha seats in Punjab separately and there is no bad blood between the two parties over this issue, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said.

Mr Kejriwal today visited Congress leader and renowned lawyer Abhishek Singhvi's home for lunch. Speaking to reporters on the decision by AAP and Congress to go solo in Punjab, he said, "In Punjab, Congress and AAP have mutually agreed to contest the polls separately. There is no hostility over this."

The tussle between Congress and AAP, rivals in Punjab but allies in the INDIA Opposition bloc, has made headlines for weeks now. Mr Kejriwal said the AAP is in talks with the Congress to finalise seat-sharing in Delhi. "We are in talks with the Congress over an alliance in Delhi. We are discussing seat-sharing arrangements. The BJP will have it easy if there is no alliance (between Congress and AAP)," he said.

The BJP won all seven parliamentary seats in the national capital in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. They had achieved the same feat in 2014.

Mr Kejriwal's remark suggests that the INDIA allies have decided to balance their national objective of taking on the BJP and their regional goal of holding on to their strongholds.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had announced that AAP had decided to contest all 13 seats in Punjab alone. Partap Singh Bajwa, one of the Congress's top leaders in Punjab and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, had 'thanked' the Chief Minister and said this is exactly what the Congress wants.

"There is a difference between Punjab and other states. Here, they (AAP) are in the government and we are the principal opposition. How can both of us get together," Mr Bajwa had told NDTV. "If we get together, the anti-incumbency vote is going to shift, either to the BJP or to the Akali Dal. How can we relinquish our position? Congress is on the comeback train. This way, we will finish our existence. We have to preserve our vote bank, and build on it. This is much better for both (Congress and AAP)," he had said.

The understanding between AAP and Congress has drawn sharp criticism from the BJP. Top BJP leaders, including its chief JP Nadda, have termed the alliance "opportunistic".