New Delhi: The Congress effort to work together with non-BJP parties ahead of next year's general elections is facing some headwinds from the party's Delhi unit. Former union minister and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken on Saturday said no Congress leader or party worker in the national capital wanted to work with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, insisting that the popularity of AAP, which runs the city government, was on a decline.
- Congress won't work with Aam Aadmi Party: Ajay Maken
- Popularity of AAP on a decline, the Delhi Congress chief said
- Rahul Gandhi is keen that Congress works closely with non-BJP parties
"Congress leaders and party workers in Delhi believe that there is no reason for the party to support AAP when even people do not," Mr Maken said at a media briefing on Saturday.
He also blamed AAP, which had its roots in an anti-corruption movement led by social activist Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal back in 2011. That movement had changed the national discourse of the country by raising a popular demand to root out corruption.
A litany of scandals, which the Congress says were based on lies and canard, chipped away at the UPA government's credibility, creating the ground for the BJP's Narendra Modi to move in for the kill in 2014.
If there is somebody who has given birth to "Modi naam ka Rakshas" (a monster called Modi),"then it is Mr Kejriwal after the Anna movement, Mr Maken said, in a disparaging reference to PM Modi as well.
Listing out how the AAP's vote share had sharply declined between 2013 and 2017 by nearly 30 percentage points, Mr Maken said the Delhi Congress, which had ruled the city for 15 years, had been able to improve its vote share and should not align with the AAP that was going to face anti-incumbency due to its handling of the power and water supply situation.
The media briefing appeared as much a message to AAP and the public, as it was to his own party's central leadership.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi is keen that his party works closely with other non-BJP parties and has already started discussions with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party for a tie up in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. In Karnataka, the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular have announced that their newly-formed alliance would continue working together in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections too.
It was Arvind Kejriwal, who along with a small group of people then described as Team Anna, spread lies and canard against the Congress, the Congress leader said.
Mr Maken's statement comes a day after AAP claimed some senior Congress leaders were in touch with the party to seek its support in Haryana, Delhi and Punjab. That the AAP had named in-charge for five Lok Sabha constituencies had also fuelled speculation that it had kept aside two seats for a possible alliance partner.