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Sharad Pawar bid to broker Congress-AAP deal

Published : Mar 20, 2019, 1:00 am IST
Updated : Mar 20, 2019, 1:00 am IST

Alliance in grey zone; Rahul will have to take a call on pact with Kejriwal.

Sharad Pawar
 Sharad Pawar

New Delhi: An alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi remained in the grey zone on Tuesday even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led party roped in Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar to help broker a deal between the two parties.

While party sources said it was now upto Mr Gandhi to take a call on the Delhi alliance after he returns from the Northeast on Wednesday morning, the Congress president had earlier mandated state units to decide on local alliances. Recently the West Bengal Congress had also decided against any alliance with the CPI(M), a decision which has been accepted by the party high command.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Gandhi met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence. Immediately after that, Mr Pawar met senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh. Top sources told this newspaper that Mr Pawar had conveyed to Mr Singh that the Congress president was “positive” about any alliance between the Congress and the AAP in Delhi.

After the meeting, Mr Singh told the media that with the Constitution, democracy and the country in “danger” under the Narendra Modi government, attempts should be made by all Opposition
parties to unite and come together to fight it out.

“The party can be saved later... There will be enough time to save the party. Right now the attempt should be to save the country and democracy, which is in danger due to the Modi government,” he said, broadly hinting that Congress needs to understand the current political situation.

Senior Congress leaders maintain that it is this idea of saving the party that was keeping the Delhi unit from committing to an alliance with the AAP, which was largely blamed for wiping out the Congress from the national capital.

“Many in the Congress feel that wherever we have aligned with regional parties, we have lost our base,” a senior leader told this newspaper.

In Delhi, while DPCC chief Sheila Dikshit is against any alliance with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, the Congress general secretary in-charge, Mr P.C. Chacko, and former DPCC president Ajay Maken were in favour of an alliance.

Mr Chacko said on Tuesday: “The Congress Working Committee has decided to align with like-minded parties across the country to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections”. An opinion poll conducted among party workers through the party’s Shakti App showed that a majority of them supported the alliance. However, as is usual with the Congress, the ball now appears to be in the party president’s court.

Tags: sharad pawar, arvind kejriwal