The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday ruled out an alliance with the Congress, a decision that may impact moves by opposition parties to come together for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. AAP will contest all the seats in Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana on its own, senior party leader Gopal Rai said at a press conference in the national capital. The three states account for 30 Lok Sabha seats.
The party took the decision following statements by Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, which showed the “arrogance" of the Congress, Rai said.
“We were ready to drink poison for the interest of the nation. Keeping recent developments in mind, the party has decided that in Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana we will contest elections in all the seats on our own… The statements that have come from Congress leaders from two states clearly show that (for them) their arrogance is greater than the country," Rai said.
Singh recently called AAP defunct, while Dikshit said that the Congress would not be interested in an alliance because AAP is a small party.
AAP had considered such an alliance after like-minded parties led by leaders such as Mamata Banerjee, the chief of the Trinamool Congress; N. Chandrababu Naidu, president of the Telugu Desam Party; Farooq Abdullah, chairman of the National Conference; and M.K. Stalin, president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam decided to join hands against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in spite of their disagreements, Rai said.
“We want to tell all of you that AAP has been against the policies of the Congress from the first day. AAP had protested against the corruption during the Congress regime. From Delhi, we managed to reduce the 15-year government of Sheila Dikshit to zero seats. We considered such a scenario to end the dictatorship in the country," he said.
Dikshit who recently took charge as the Delhi Congress chief said in an interview on Monday that she was not in favour of an alliance with AAP but would abide by the high command’s decision on it.
AAP, led by national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, and the Congress have been arch-rivals. The two parties came together after the 2013 assembly elections. However, the government lasted only 49 days. Since then, the two have contested elections against each other. There was speculation, in the run-up to the general elections, that the two parties were considering an electoral understanding. However, both parties had officially denied it.
AAP has already announced in-charges for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and the names of five candidates in Punjab.