Congress president Rahul Gandhi today covened an emergency meeting of the top leaders of its Delhi unit at his residence in Delhi to discuss the possibility of contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in an agreement with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of Arvind Kejriwal. Several top leaders of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee including its president Sheila Dikshit, Ajay Maken and Haroon Yusuf were among those present at the meet.
A report in the PTI said that the opinion on the issue remained divided and everyone in the meeting was unanimous that Rahul should take a final call on it in the larger interest of the party. It said that four former Delhi Congress presidents — Ajay Maken, Subhash Chopra, Tajdar Babar and Arvinder Singh Lovely — favoured an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi.
“AICC in-charge of Delhi Congress PC Chacko also handed over signed letters of 12 district Congress presidents, leaders of the party and councilors in three municipal corporation, in favour of the alliance, to Gandhi,” they said.
A report in The Indian Express said that this is the second meeting chaired by Rahul Gandhi in relation to forging an alliance with the rival party AAP in Delhi. Earlier on March 4, Sheila Dikhshit had held a similar meeting with Rahul Gandhi and later announced that Congress will go solo in the national capital.
The daily said that while the Congress’ Delhi unit leadership has been opposing such a move saying decision to contest election with AAP will disappoint the ground workers, the central leadership has been supporting the plan to contest election in an agreement with AAP in the largest interest of the party.
The Congress has now entrusted Rahul to take a final call as far as contesting elections in an agreement with AAP is concerned. The Congress and AAP are two rivals in Delhi and Punjab. The Punjab Congress leadership has already said that it will contest the elections alone.
“There is a meeting schedule for Monday. Let’s see what happens,” Sheila Dikshit had earlier told The Indian Express.
PC Chacko, in-charge for Congress’ Delhi unit, also confirmed that the high command will take a final call about on the coalition in Delhi. Chacko informed that Rahul will again seek views of the senior leaders and offer his suggestion based upon which the decision would be taken.
The meeting, which ended a short while ago, came just ahead of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meet in Delhi to review the party’s preparation for the elections and its manifesto. There are reports that the announcement could come after the CWC meeting today. The Congress may release its election manifesto for the general elections in the first week of April.
The daily said the while AAP has been pitching for 5:2 seat-sharing deal, the Congress has proposed 3:3:1 with a call on New Delhi candidate under consideration. For the New Delhi seat, two parties are in talks of fielding a joint candidate.
Delhi is a Union Territory and sends seven MPs to the Lok Sabha. AAP’s national convener and CM Arvind Kejriwal had earlier said that Congress was not interested in contesting elections in an alliance and hence it has announced the names of all seven candidates.
The elections in Delhi will be held in a single phase on May 12.