The Congress has shut the door on an alliance in Delhi for the national election, Arvind Kejriwal stressed today in an interview to NDTV, declaring that his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was preparing to contest alone in the capital in the polls now just weeks away.
“They (Congress) have refused to go for a gathbandhan(alliance). It appears they are firm,” Arvind Kejriwal said days after he said at a public rally that he was “fed up” of asking the Congress to agree to teaming up. That comment didn’t go down well with the Congress and its Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit, who said while her party was accused of being the saboteur, no such talks had taken place.
The Delhi Chief Minister justified his efforts to reach out to the Congress despite their bitter rivalry: “To remove the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo from power is the biggest challenge that we face.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, he continued, “have destroyed the economy, caused an environment of hate and weakened the country’s unity in a way Pakistan couldn’t in 70 years. To stop them, we will do anything. We don’t have any love for the Congress.”
But the Congress had refused, he repeatedly said. “All doors are closed and we are preparing to contest alone,” Mr Kejriwal said, weeks after an opposition meeting in Delhithat brought him, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee together.
Refusing to elaborate on the talks, he said: “Broadly, it means there will be no gathbandhan. The net result is that there will be no alliance with the Congress,” he said.
Asked whether the Congress had cited the objections of its Delhi unit, Mr Kejriwal said: “They say that.”
He questioned the Congress’s moves in various states, accusing the party of weakening the opposition by going it alone.
“What is the Congress intending? They are weakening the opposition in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal…But in Delhi, we are confident that AAP will win all seven seats,” he said.
The BJP won the seven Delhi seats in the 2014 election.
Since then, however, AAP has made its presence felt with impressive wins in assembly polls.
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 colossal victory and the Congress was wiped out. Delhi Congress leaders are insistent that AAP rode to power by eating into the party’s vote-base.