NEW DELHI: A day after opposition parties met in the national capital, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that the Congress has virtually ruled out an alliance with the party.
Kejriwal’s statement comes at a time when opposition parties are trying to stitch together an alliance to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the upcoming general elections.
“The Congress has almost said no to an alliance," Kejriwal said at a press conference on Thursday. “We are worried about the nation and the events that are ongoing right now. That is why we are keen."
The Election Commission (EC) is yet to announce the schedule for the polls.
Kejriwal’s statements are significant because it is the first time that he has officially spoken about the developments in this regard. “It is important for the opposition parties to understand that there can be only one candidate against the BJP. We need to make sure that the opposition vote does not get divided. Everyone needs to understand this."
AAP was seen as a nemesis for the Congress, which had ruled Delhi for 15 years till 2013, when the Kejriwal-led party contested the assembly elections. Back then, it had formed a minority government in Delhi with outside support from the Congress. The government lasted only 49 days.
In the 2015 assembly elections, AAP returned with a historic mandate, while the Congress failed to secure a single seat in the assembly.
There were speculations of an alliance between the two parties, but both parties have now officially denied it.
Hours after Kejriwal’s statement, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee spoke about AAP’s willingness to contest the elections with the Congress. “Arvind Kejriwal wants an alliance with the Congress in Delhi," she said, adding that it was, however, up to the Congress to reciprocate.
In an interview last month, Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had said that “personally (she was) not for it at all", but would abide by the decision of the party leadership.