BJP criticises Congress-AAP alliance, calls it opportunist : The Tribune India

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BJP criticises Congress-AAP alliance, calls it opportunist

BJP criticises Congress-AAP alliance, calls it opportunist

Meenakashi Lekhi, Union Minister

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24

The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) struck a much-anticipated seat-sharing deal for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on Saturday. However, it remains to be seen which of the two parties will benefit more from this alliance.

The Congress will contest in three seats (Chandni Chowk, North East and North West) and AAP in four seats (New Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi).

All-India Congress Committee general secretary Mukul Wasnik said, “We will contest this election under different party symbols, but it will be our responsibility to ensure success on all seven seats.”

Meanwhile, the BJP faction continued to attack the alliance. The Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, said in a post on X, “If the opportunist alliance between AAP and Congress even manages to survive its inherent contradictions, it will be the most bizarre political combination in every sense! People will clearly remember that AAP came into being after protesting against the rampant impunity and corruption of Congress, which it subsequently defeated in Delhi. As the slew of cases against their ministers and leaders show, it has now even embodied what they protested against!”

Lekhi questions alliance viability

Arvind Kejriwal had said in an interview that let alone one or two ministers, all those within the Congress are corrupt. He said he would never align with the Cong and even used to walk around with a sheaf of papers, saying that they had sufficient proof against former CM Sheila Dixit. —Meenakashi Lekhi, Union Minister

The AAP was born out of the anti-corruption movement that principally targeted the UPA-led regime, the Congress until very recently has been attacking the former as the B-team of the BJP.

For the Congress, the alliance appears to be at a greater risk, even though the leaders of both parties have argued that they have come together by setting aside personal and political party interests for the larger goal of “putting the country first”.

Every time the Congress has allied with the AAP in elections, it has experienced electoral setbacks. In 2013, the Congress’ decision to support the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government proved to be a death knell for the grand old party, which was subsequently wiped out in the 2015 elections.

The AAP swept the polls, winning 67 out of 70 seats, while the BJP secured three seats. Arvinder Singh Lovely, who was the Delhi Congress chief in 2013, had advised the Congress not to test its patience by frequently attacking the party, while Manish Sisodia had responded that it would not start praising the Congress because it had extended support to the AAP.

The performance of the Congress in the 2020 elections was its worst since 1993, a pale shadow of its performance between 1998 and 2013. When Delhi became a union territory and acquired a legislature, in the first Assembly elections, Congress’ vote share dipped by 5 per cent. Even in that election, the Congress had aligned with the RJD, contesting 66 seats itself and leaving four for the latter.

However, the Congress and AAP have stated that the dynamics in the Lok Sabha differ from the Assembly elections. In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the BJP outperformed both parties, winning all seven seats.

AAP national general secretary Sandeep Pathak said given the way the BJP government is dismantling institutions, rigging elections, imprisoning Opposition leaders to win elections, mistreating farmers, and escalating unemployment and inflation, the entire country needs an honest and robust alternative.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Meenakashi Lekhi questioned the viability of the AAP-Congress alliance in the face of the BJP-led NDA. Expressing scepticism, she pondered whether their coalition could rival the leadership prowess and strength of the PM Narendra Modi-led NDA.

Lekhi, who is also an MP from New Delhi, further called it as an alliance of the corrupt. She suggested that both parties joined forces to evade accountability in the event of an anticipated defeat in all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, she recalled past instances where the AAP had accused the Congress of corruption and highlighted the irony of their current collaboration.

Suggesting a deeper connection between Kejriwal and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, the Minister said the Congress had played a role in supporting AAP. She accused Kejriwal of avoiding ED summonses to solidify the alliance before a potential arrest in the alleged excise scam case.

Cong leaders express optimism

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Arvinder Singh Lovely expressed optimism about the tie-up between the Congress and the AAP under the India bloc, aiming to contest all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. He emphasised the alliance’s determination to secure victory across the capital, citing neglect by BJP MPs over the past decade. “In collaboration with AAP, the India bloc is poised to sweep all seven seats in Delhi,” Lovely said, highlighting the partnership’s resolve to address the alleged negligence by BJP representatives. “The decision to contest all seats reflects our commitment to defeat the BJP comprehensively,” he added. TNS

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Aam Aadmi Party AAP #BJP #Congress #Lok Sabha

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