Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said that she was not aware of any talks between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party for an electoral alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking to news website The Print, the former chief minister said, “Nobody has spoken to me about it. May be something they may have spoken to you (reporter) in one of your interviews, but certainty not with me. So, I wouldn’t be able to comment on this.”
The veteran Congress leader, however, added that the decision on any alliance with the AAP will be taken by the party high command. She said, “Even when I was the CM of Delhi, I could say some things, give an idea or opinion. But the decision has to be taken by the high command and that decision will be taken only by the high command. Do we go in for a gathbandhan (alliance) or we don’t go for it?”
Dikshit said that the Arvind Kejriwal-led party had to come forward for the alliance to happen. “Whether it will come forward or not come forward (sic). It’s too early to say or to come to a conclusion just now,” she said.
Last week, DMK chief MK Stalin had met Kejriwal in Delhi and had reportedly told him to end his adversarial attitude towards the Congress. Kejriwal had run a bitter campaign against the Congress-led UPA and the then Delhi government led by Dikshit. The AAP had formed its first government in December 2013 by defeating the Congress. However, this government lasted for just 49 days. Kejriwal won a landslide in February 2015 by securing 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly.
Dikshit, however, felt that the AAP had lost its popularity in the national capital. She told The Print, “In Delhi, previously there used to be the BJP and the Congress, and now the Aam Aadmi Party has also come. But the Aam Aadmi Party is also losing a lot of its glamour, popularity. So, let’s see what happens at that point of time. But at the moment, we have no serious talk about any kind of gathbandhan.”
She added, “Don’t ask me because I am very critical of them. They have spoken a lot, they haven’t done anything. They came with two slogans primarily — free water and free power. Have they given free water or power? Is it a political party which can be trusted to keep its promises? I doubt it.”
Delhi unit of the Congress is led by senior leader Ajay Makan, who’s been keeping unwell for some time. He had recently travelled abroad for treatment. In June this year, Maken had rejected the AAP’s reported offer to leave 2-3 seats for the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference, Maken had said, “As I said, they (AAP) made the start by announcing five seats and leaving two seats for us. Then they said they will leave three seats for the Congress. Whether it is two or three, the Congress party is not at all interested in joining hands with Kejriwal, who’s been rejected by the people of Delhi.”
The AAP has already declared candidates at five out of seven Lok Sabha seats by announcing the names of individuals, in-charge of these parliamentary seats.