This Article is From Jun 23, 2023

Congress Refuses To Be Team Player, Any Alliance With It Difficult, Says AAP

Patna Opposition Meeting: AAP also said it will not be part of any Opposition meetings that include the Congress until the party publicly opposes the Centre's Delhi ordinance.

Opposition Meet In Patna: BJP has dismissed the opposition meeting as a mere photo-session.

New Delhi:

Even as the Opposition parties were holding a press conference projecting unity after the 16-party meeting in Patna, the Aam Aadmi Party dropped a bombshell saying it will not be part of any future Opposition gatherings that include the Congress until the party publicly opposes the Centre's contentious ordinance on the control of administrative services in Delhi. 

A statement issued by AAP said, "Congress' hesitation and refusal to act as a team player, especially on an issue as important as this one, will make it very difficult for the AAP to be a part of any alliance that includes Congress."

"Until the Congress publicly denounces the Black Ordinance and declares that all 31 of its RS MPs will oppose the ordinance in the Rajya Sabha, it will be difficult for AAP to participate in future meetings of like-minded parties where the Congress is a participant," the statement added. 

The AAP, whose leaders were conspicuous by their absence at the press conference, said the Congress needs to decide whether it is with the people of Delhi or the Modi government. It added that, in personal discussions, senior Congress leaders have hinted that their party might informally or formally abstain from voting on the ordinance in the Rajya Sabha. 

"Congress' silence raises suspicions about its real intentions... The Congress' abstention from voting on this issue will help the BJP immensely in furthering its attack on Indian democracy," the statement said.

AAP leader Jasmine Shah said the opposition meeting in Patna had 12 parties who have representation in the Rajya Sabha, and all of them - except Congress - had made their stand against the ordinance clear.  She said other parties also tried to get the Congress to lay out its stand, but the party chose to remain silent. 

"You have to take a hard stand if the Constitution is being burnt and trampled upon in front of you. The opposition parties had come together to take a principled stand, not to have tea and samosas," she said in Hindi. 

The party's statements came after there were sharp exchanges between the Congress and the AAP during the meeting in Patna, sources said. 

While AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal sought the grand old party's stand on the ordinance issue, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge raised AAP chief spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar's allegation that the Congress is not taking a stand because of a deal with the BJP. 

Ms Kakkar had told NDTV minutes ahead of the meeting that they have come to know from reliable sources that "there is a consensus between Congress and BJP" which is why the Congress is not opposing the ordinance.

Congress has repeatedly said the big meeting was not the occasion for such issues, and that they decide on such issues ahead of Parliament sessions.

"Opposing it or proposing it does not happen outside, it happens in Parliament. Before Parliament begins, all parties decide what issues they have to work on together. They know it, and even their leaders come to our all-party meetings. I don't know why there is so much publicity about it outside," Mr Kharge had said on reaching Patna.

The Patna meet was the first time several parties that have been averse to the Congress due to regional rivalry shared a stage.