In a crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting held at the party’s headquarters, senior leaders including party president Rahul Gandhi discussed the possibility of a tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming General Elections. While Arvind Kejriwal had long a proponent of the two “secular” parties fighting the elections together, the Congress high brass has been divided on the issue.
Internal sources of the Congress claim that Delhi Congress President Sheila Dikshit, who was also the Chief Minister of Delhi before the Congress was uprooted in 2013 assemby elections, remains opposed to the alliance. Her stance is supported by three working presidents Devender Yadav, Rajesh Lilothia, and Haroon Yusuf while the Congress Delhi in-charge, PC Chacko and past presidents Ajay Maken and Arvinder Singh Lovely favor a tie-up with AAP. Along with them, the majority of the Congress rank and file also supports a tie-up with AAP to defeat BJP which had won all seven seats of Delhi in 2014 and looks poised to repeat it’s performance again.
The coming together of AAP and Congress in New Delhi is bound the upset the BJP’s applecart and cause a major loss of seats for the BJP. Even in 2014, at the height of Modi wave, the combined vote share of AAP and Congress was enough to have defeat the BJP in six out the seven seats.
Due to the divided house, it is expected that Rahul Gandhi will take a final call on the need to tie-up with AAP in Delhi. His decision will have a major bearing on the upcoming general elections and the Delhi Assembly elections to be held next year.
Currently, in the 70 member New Delhi State Assembly, the AAP controls a staggering 66 seats while the opposition BJP has only 4. Congress, which has ruled Delhi for the most time, has no members in the assembly as it witnessed a large scale migration of votes to the AAP in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. The Congress, however, had clawed back some of its votes in the 2017 MCD elections which were dominated by the BJP.