New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party is a divided house when it comes to a possible alliance with the Congress party for the 2019 general elections, say sources. Some in the top leadership in the AAP are against a tie-up with the Congress in Delhi or in Punjab, while another section of the AAP’s top leadership is batting for an alliance with the Congress and, in turn, become a partner in the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance for a national foray in 2019.
Senior AAP leaders who do not want to tie up with the Congress in Delhi feel that it is the Congress that will benefit from such an arrangement by reasserting its presence with the help of Arvind Kejriwal’s party. They say that AAP has nothing to gain from such an alliance as the Congress has lost its relevance in Delhi.
The other section of AAP leadership in favour of an alliance feels that such a tie-up would be beneficial for the party in national politics, as they will benefit from this alliance in other states.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior AAP leader said, “The party and its top leadership are deliberating on whether to go for this alliance or not. A section feels that the party should go for it, but the other section feels that such an alliance will hurt the image of the party and it will come across as the party moving away from its principles. However, many volunteers and party workers feel that AAP will get an opening in some states if it becomes a part of the Grand Alliance.”
Highly placed sources in the party said that some rounds of talks between the AAP and the Congress had taken place and that the AAP was not willing to give more than two seats out of the total seven parliamentary seats in Delhi to the Congress. Out of the seven seats, AAP has already announced constituency in-charges for six seats. Eventually, they will be given tickets to contest the elections. If the seat-sharing formula of 5-2 works out, AAP will have to ask one of its constituency in-charges to vacate the seat for the Congress.
However, AAP has officially denied that any such talks or negotiations with the Congress have taken place. The Delhi Congress has also denied holding any talks with the AAP leadership.
However, a senior Congress leader told this correspondent that if the party high command decided for a tie-up with AAP, “We will not have any problem with the alliance”.
The Congress and AAP had been at loggerheads in Delhi ever since the AAP’s inception and the AAP had defeated the 15-year-old Congress government in Delhi and came to power in 2015 with a thumping majority of 67 out of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly. The Congress won zero seats in the Assembly elections. The Congress has not been able to recover ever since and was at number three in the byelections held in the subsequent years.
AAP is in principal opposition in Punjab, where the Congress is in power. The party is also likely to make its debut in Haryana in 2019 and has already started preparing the ground for the same.