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AAP-Congress deal if Punjab gets a hung House?

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAJNISH SHARMA
Published : Feb 24, 2017, 2:30 am IST
Updated : Feb 24, 2017, 6:25 am IST

The people said the two parties have opened “communication channels” to discuss options in case of a fractured mandate.

The Congress had supported the AAP government in Delhi in 2014, though the arrangement lasted for only 49 days.
 The Congress had supported the AAP government in Delhi in 2014, though the arrangement lasted for only 49 days.

New Delhi: The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab have started preliminary talks on forming an alliance in case of a hung Assembly, people in both the parties who are familiar with the matter said Thursday. Counting for the Assembly polls in five states is on March 11.

The people said the two parties have opened “communication channels” to discuss options in case of a fractured mandate. 

Both parties want to avoid President’s Rule in Punjab as it would give “indirect control” to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance. 

Though publicly the Congress and the AAP said they would get comfortable majority, political analysts said the border state may see a hung Assembly with Congress emerging as the single largest party — though falling short of majority.

“A hung Assembly would also be a verdict against the Akali Dal-BJP alliance because they would end up a poor third,” said a Congress leader who did not want to be named.

“In that scenario it becomes the responsibility of the other two parties, Congress and AAP, to come together and give a clean administration to the state.”

The Congress had supported the AAP government in Delhi in 2014, though the arrangement lasted for only 49 days.

Even some Punjab AAP leaders said that if Congress emerges as the single largest party, the AAP should support it in forming the government. “This verdict will be against the decade-long misrule of the Akali-BJP alliance in Punjab,” an AAP leader said, requesting anonymity.

“Even during the election campaign we sensed strong resentment amonng voters against the Akalis.”

Both Congress and the AAP’s state unit are examining the possibility of the latter providing “issue-based outside support” if indeed Congress becomes the single largest party, people familiar with the matter said.

Some Punjab AAP leaders said such an arrangement will help the party eventually as it could push for development initiatives in areas of its dominance, mainly in Malwa region, where the Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to do well.

Tags: president’s rule, punjab assembly elections, aap government
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi