No Final Call On AAP Tie-Up In Delhi, But Congress Shortlists Candidates

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Shiela Dikshit, who was vehemently opposed to the idea of a Congress-AAP allaince in Delhi, had said she would stick to her party's decision.

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Elections 2019: Sheila Dikshit had written to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi opposing the tie-up with AAP.


New Delhi: 

The Congress is yet to take a final decision on forming an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi for the national election, sources said. But there are indications that party would go it alone - at a meeting in state party chief Sheila Dikshit's house last night, senior Congress leaders PC Chacko and KC Venugopal started the process of shortlisting candidates for Delhi's seven parliamentary seats. The two leaders had also conveyed Mr Gandhi's decision to Ms Dikshit, sources said. A formal announcement is likely today or tomorrow.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said he would not need Congress's help to win the seven seats in Delhi. But a tie-up with the Congress would help keep the BJP out in 10 seats of Haryana and in Punjab."Rahul Gandhi should think about an alliance in Haryana... People of the country want to defeat the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo. If in Haryana, JJP (Jannayak Janata Party), AAP and Congress fight together, then the BJP will lose in all 10 seats," Mr Kejriwal had said.

Congress leaders PC Chacko and KC Venugopal held a late-night meeting with Sheila Dikshit at her home on her birthday eve. Ms Dikshit turns 81 today. The meeting at Ms Dikshit's home ended past midnight.

"In some time, the things will be clear. You will get to know about it in a matter of a few hours, by this evening or by tomorrow. There will be an official announcement," she said while replying to question about the alliance," Ms Dikshit told reporters this morning.

The Congress leaders also discussed the names to be shortlisted for the seven Lok Sabha seats in the capital. The committee is tasked to shortlist names from around 80 applications received from party probables.

Sheila Dikshit, a three-time chief minister whose term ended with the AAP's stunning rise in Delhi, had warned in a letter to Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi that an alliance with Mr Kejriwal's party would hurt the Congress in the long run.

Ms Dikshit, who was vehemently opposed to the idea of a tie-up between the two parties, had said she would stick to the party's decision. Sources had said other Delhi Congress leaders wanted the tie-up and had written to Rahul Gandhi.

Sheila Dikshit maintained that Arvind Kejriwal had not approached her.

Reports suggest that the Congress is upset with the AAP offering only one of Delhi's seven seats in a tie-up; the Congress wants three. The Congress was also under pressure to form an alliance with the AAP as part of the new opposition strategy since the Pulwama terror attack.

In attempts to forge a tie-up between the two parties, Maharashtra politician Sharad Pawar had stepped in as mediator. Mr Pawar, the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), separately met with Congress leaders and AAP's Sanjay Singh on March 19.

Soon after the meeting, Arvind Kejriwal had declared that the Congress had rejected an alliance and he was "fed up of trying to convince the party".

Delhi votes for its seven Lok Sabha seats on May 12. The results will be declared with the rest of the country on May 23.



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