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Days after Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit ruled out any alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, the national leadership of Congress continues to be in dilemma over the possibility of joining hands. Adding to the confusion of the top brass is a divergent view in a section of the state leadership which is keen on an alliance as well as the factor that polling date of Delhi is more than seven weeks away.

According to senior Congress leaders, a final call will be taken by party president Rahul Gandhi who was travelling to North East for election campaign on Tuesday. The final call to be taken by Gandhi signals a rethink as he had said at a booth workers meeting recently that party workers should ensure “ensure victory of Congress on all the seven seats" in Delhi.

As the developments over alliance formation unfold, it has brought to fore the factionalism within the state unit. While Dikshit was reportedly upset over a phone survey done by the party to assess mood for the alliance, party leaders said the state unit was considering appointing 25 observers for the same purpose.

“Dikshit led state unit is clear that it is not in favour of an alliance. There is a section of the party unit which is keen on exploring it and has communicated it to the Congress president. This is where the shift in stance happened. We expect that Rahul Gandhi will take a final call soon but it is also a fact that since polling in Delhi is more than a month away the decision may get delayed," a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity.

Atleast three senior party leaders including a former state minister, Gandhi is unlikely to change the stance of the alliance to go alone while one felt that the possibilities are equally tilted on both the sides.

“The general feeling is that Gandhi will not go against the will of the state unit particularly party workers. However, there is also the speculation that we need to join anti-BJP forces in this election," another party leader added.

"I am in consultation with Congress party leaders in Delhi on the possibilities of forging an alliance with AAP. The Congress Working Committee has decided to align with like-minded parties across the country to defeat the BJP in Lok Sabha elections. I hope Delhi Congress leaders also go by this sentiment and decide on an alliance with AAP, but a final decision will be taken by the Congress president very soon," AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Congress PC Chacko told PTI.

Meanwhile, the AAP on Tuesday formally ruled out an alliance with the Congress in Delhi saying that the Congress was “wasting time" and the party is set to formally launch their campaign for the Lok Sabha elections on 23 March in all the seven constituencies.

Talk of an alliance was revived once again after a meeting between senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Nationalist Congress President (NCP) president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday morning. The AAP was keen on alliance with the Congress to pool in anti-BJP votes not just in the state of Delhi but also in Haryana and Punjab.

“After taking everything into consideration we have decided that AAP will continue towards their strategy to contest on all seven seats. We have already declared names of all our candidates. After Holi, AAP will begin their campaign. We believe that the way they are in Delhi, if we kill more time with them, the fight will get weakened in Delhi as well," Gopal Rai, AAP Delhi president and cabinet minister said while addressing a press conference.

“We are only focusing on our campaign in the seven constituencies. In Delhi, we have decided that there will be no alliance. We will still be a part of the Mahagathbandan. We have bended as far as we could when it comes but Congress is wasting time. It's very late now and there is no time to go back now," he added.

The party has announced a two phase campaign which will begin from 23 March, in which Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal will address a rally in all the 70 assembly constituencies. In total, the party will hold 280 public meetings between the first phase from 23 March to 7 April and the second phase between 8 – 30 April.

The state of Delhi has seven Lok Sabha constituencies which go to poll on 12 May.

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