- AAP announced candidates in Delhi for Lok Sabha elections
- Candidate for seventh and final seat, West Delhi, still being discussed
- BJP had won the seven Delhi seats in the 2014 election
The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, days after declaring that there will be no grand alliance or "mahagathbandhan" with the Congress in Delhi, today announced its candidates in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections, which are due by May.
The party will field Atishi from East Delhi, Raghav Chaddha from South Delhi, Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi, Gugan Singh from North West Delhi and Brajesh Goel from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The six candidates were earlier appointed as in charge on the respective Lok Sabha seats.
The candidate for the seventh and the final seat, West Delhi, is still being discussed and will be announced later, senior party leader Gopal Rai said at a press conference this afternoon.
The BJP had won the seven Delhi seats in the 2014 election. Since then, however, AAP has made its presence felt with impressive wins in assembly polls. "We won 66 out of 77 seats in Assembly elections. We will try to make a similar presence felt during the Lok Sabha elections," Mr Rai said.
On why AAP did not tie-up with the Congress to take on the BJP and PM Modi, Gopal Rai pinned the blamed squarely on the Congress and its chief Rahul Gandhi.
"Sheila Dikshit has said a straight no to alliance. Rahul Gandhi also said not possible... Aam Aadmi Party wanted the alliance, but the Congress is not ready" Gopal Rai said.
At a public meeting last week, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said he was "tired" of trying to persuade the Congress to agree to an alliance with his AAP. A day later, Sheila Dikshit retorted, "When did AAP ever come to us? If Arvind wants an alliance, then he should directly speak to me."
Just weeks before that, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi both attended a meeting of opposition leaders at Maharashtra politician Sharad Pawar's home in Delhi. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also participated in the discussions, told reporters that AAP and Congress had been urged to consider tying up in Delhi.
Mr Kejriwal's party was born out of the anti-corruption movement against the Congress over the demand of an anti-corruption body. In 2013, the Congress helped AAP take power in Delhi, but Mr Kejriwal quit after a 49-day stint over the anti-corruption Lokpal bill, adding to the acrimony. Two years later, AAP returned to power with a spectacular mandate and the Congress was wiped out. The Congress, say sources, believes AAP rode to power by eating into its vote-base.