- Rahul Gandhi refused alliance with AAP: Arvind Kejriwal
- Arvind Kejriwal had offered only 2-3 seats to Congress: Sources
- AAP chief campaigned for Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh yesterday
Ending weeks of "will they, won't they", Arvind Kejriwal said today that Congress President Rahul Gandhi had refused an alliance with his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi for this month's national election.
The Delhi Chief Minister was on his way back from Visakhapatnam, where he had joined an opposition rally on Sunday, when reporters asked him at the airport about Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit's comment that she was never approached by AAP for an alliance.
"We have met Rahul Gandhi. Shiela Dikshit is not that important a leader," said Arvind Kejriwal.
"There is nothing on the alliance with Congress. We had one meeting with Rahul Gandhi, where he refused to have an alliance with AAP," news agency IANS quoted Mr Kejriwal as saying.
The AAP chief campaigned for Chandrababu Naidu at a massive rally in Andhra Pradesh yesterday. His West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee was also at the rally.
AAP has said over the past few weeks that it was keen on a tie-up with the Congress in Delhi to put up a stronger fight against the BJP. But the party reportedly was unwilling to set aside more than two of Delhi's seven seats for the Congress, which had won all seven seats in Delhi in 2009 but was wiped out in the Modi wave of 2014.
Leaders in Delhi Congress were divided over an alliance with AAP; Sheila Dikshit and her three working presidents objected to it considering "long term repercussions", said top party sources.
Sheila Dikshit's 15-year Congress government in Delhi ended with the rise of AAP, which scored big in its very first election, the Delhi polls in 2015. The Congress in Delhi believes AAP gained at its cost and any tie-up with Mr Kejriwal's party has no benefits for the Congress.
"The biggest question is how the Congress will face the AAP in Assembly elections due in 2020 after the tie up. Also, the party does not gain much politically as it is being offered only 2-3 seats by Mr Kejriwal," the sources said.
Talk of a Congress-AAP alliance followed from the math that in 2014, while the BJP won all seven seats, it had polled less votes than the two parties put together. Delhi votes on May 12, in the sixth phase of the election that will continue till May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)