Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit on Friday turned down a proposal to tie-up with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The decision was taken after a meeting between Ms Dikshit, who took over as party chief in the capital in January, and senior Delhi Congress leaders at her residence, news agency ANI reported.
On Thursday, Ms Dikshit had conveyed the central leadership’s inclination to partner the AAP to take on the BJP together, ANI said. After this, a meeting was held with party workers at her residence on Friday.
After two hours of deliberation, they turned down the idea of aligning with AAP for general elections, Ms Dikshit told ANI.
“Top leaders of Congress held discussion over the issue of a tie-up with AAP in Delhi but most of the leaders are not in favour of an alliance with AAP. We will convey our decision to party high command,” she added.
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, Ms 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.