After weeks of will-they-won't-they suspense, the Congress has given up on the prospects of an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party and has decided to get on with finalising its candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and Haryana, party sources said. The Election Committee of the party will meet this evening to shortlist candidates for the 17 seats in the two states.
Party sources said discussions about an alliance, which have been dragging on, finally ended when the Aam Aadmi Party gave a firm no to the Congress demand for three of Delhi's seven seats. The Congress was not ready to settle for less.
The Congress also refused to concede any seats in Haryana and Punjab in view of the party's internal dynamics and prospects in the assembly elections - the same reason why the Aam Aadmi Party was not keen on an alliance in Delhi.
At this evening's meeting, the Congress will deliberate on the candidates who have the most chances of winning.
Former lawmakers like Kapil Sibal and Ajay Maken are expected to get the go ahead for the contest in Delhi. Others may include JP Agrawal and Ramesh Kumar. If Sandeep Dikshit, the son of party chief and three-term Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit agrees, he will be a candidate.
Otherwise the ticket could go to Arvinder Singh Lovely, Mahabal Mishra or Rajkumar Chauhan.
The list of candidates is likely to be announced later tonight.
The Congress has been under pressure from allies like Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee to come to an understanding with AAP. But today, party sources said the scenario would just not work out.
"If Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee are so convinced that an alliance with AAP is helpful, why don't they offer them seats in Maharashtra and Bengal," a party leader said.
Delhi and Haryana both vote in a single phase on May 12.