Congress-AAP bickering in Delhi casts shadow over opposition unity under INDIA banner


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal speaks during the Delhi Assembly Session at Vidhan Sabha in New Delhi on Thursday (ANI Photo)

Our Bureau
New Delhi

All is not well between the Congress party and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi. In an important development, AAP leader Priyanka Kakkar on Wednesday said that the party’s top leadership will decide whether or not to attend the next meeting of INDIA alliance.

Earlier, the Delhi Congress meeting was held at the party headquarter in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal and other party leaders to chalk out the strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Congress leader Alka Lamba spoke about the meeting. She said, “We have been asked to prepare for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It has been decided that we will prepare for all seven seats of Delhi in the Lok Sabha elections. Seven months are left and all the party workers have been asked to prepare for all seven seats.”

AAP spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar said, “If they (Congress) don’t want to form an alliance in Delhi, then it makes no sense to go for INDIA alliance, it is a waste of time. The party’s top leadership will decide whether or not to attend the next meeting of INDIA alliance.”

INDIA or ‘Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’ is a group of 26 opposition parties, including the Congress. The parties have come together to take on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and prevent it from winning a third straight term at the Centre in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, AAP MLA Somnath Bharti said while speaking to reporters, “We have to understand whether the statement came from the Delhi Congress or the Congress party as a whole.”  

In addition, AAP Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the central leadership will decide on contesting Lok Sabha polls from Delhi. “…Our central leadership will decide this…Our political affairs committee and INDIA parties will sit together and discuss this (poll alliance)”, said Bharadwaj.

But the war of words between the Congress and AAP is continuing. Hitting out at AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit reiterated that the Centre’s Ordinance on Delhi services was “right” and the former was opposing it because he had to save himself from corruption cases.

“When I said that the ordinance (Delhi NCT services) is right and that he (Arvind Kejriwal) was trying to save himself as they had corruption cases against them. If he had any issue in administering Delhi, he could have done something in the education department or health department. He doesn’t have to do anything with the Delhi administration, he was just trying to save himself by opposing the ordinance,” Sandeep Dikshit said.

This is not the first time that the son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is launching barbs at Kejriwal.  Earlier this month, Dikshit blamed Delhi Chief Minister, after the Bill to replace the ordinance for control of services in Delhi was passed in Parliament, saying his running power tussle and bitter exchanges with the Centre resulted in the draft legislation on the control of services in the national capital.

The draft legislation on Delhi services was passed by the Parliament this month after the Rajya Sabha secured its passage by a comfortable margin.

Congress was among the Opposition parties, which extended support to the AAP in its bid to thwart the passage of the Bill in Parliament, after the two parties came together as part of the grand Opposition bloc — I.N.D.I.A. The Centre had earlier promulgated an Ordinance overturning a Supreme Court judgment vesting control of services in the AAP government.

Sandeep Dikshit hit out at the Centre and the Delhi Government, saying that there is no difference between the policies of these two. Dikshit said that the central government is “the worst” one for democracy.

“The way the central government is working, it is the worst government for the welfare of the poor, and democracy. Neither the poor nor the country has got any benefit from its performance…There is no difference in policies between AAP and BJP…” the Congress leader said.

He further said that Congress should not repeat the same mistake that was committed by several parties that had supported Jan Sangh to defeat the Indira Gandhi government after the emergency.

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