AAP, Congress likely to tie up for 2019 Lok Sabha elections
Congress president Rahul Gandhi likely to make the announcement shortly
NEW DELHI: After prolonged discussions, the AAP and the Congress are likely to tie up for the next Lok Sabha elections, but the seat sharing formula that has been discussed by the two parties earlier followed a 3+3+1 formula. It is expected that the Congress High Command will make the announcement shortly. And the one may be left for former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha or his BJP colleague filmstar and former MP Shatrughan Sinha.
Amid uncertainty over a Congress-Aam Aadmi Party alliance in Delhi for the Lok Sabha elections, an internal survey by the Congress could play a key role in changing the minds of state leaders who have been against the arrangement. The survey –which reportedly showed the BJP ahead of both AAP and Congress with 35 per cent of the vote share in the capital –has already been shown to party chief Rahul Gandhi and the Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit.
"After party president Rahul Gandhi agreed to the views of the state unit and decided not to ally with AAP for upcoming general elections, senior central leaders of the party met Rahul Gandhi and asked him to reconsider the decision," a senior Congress leader linked to the Delhi Congress Pradesh Committee said.
"Senior leaders cited the recent survey by the party which showed AAP vote bank to be around 28 per cent and Congress's 22 per cent while BJP's 35 per cent, and argued that alliance with AAP will see the alliance sweeping all the seven seats in Delhi," he added.
AAP and Congress rely largely on a common vote-bank-minorities, Scheduled castes, OBC and people living in slums and unauthorised colonies, besides some other sections of society.
All seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi went to the BJP in 2014, While the AAP stood second in all seats. If Congress and AAP maintain their vote shares, the alliance will win six out of seven seats. The only seat where BJP had edge was West Delhi, where Pravesh Sahib Singh had got 48 percent votes while AAP and Cong's combined votes were 42 percent.
In the meantime, the party's Delhi in-charge PC Chacko met Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit and showed her the results of the vote bank survey and also conveyed the views of the senior leaders of the party. Though Dikshit did not change her stand completely, she has climbed down and is now "ready to agree to the decision of the party leadership' on alliance with AAP", sources said.
"Chacko then met other leaders of the Delhi Congress unit and everyone has agreed to go by the decision of the party leadership on alliance with AAP," they added.
"Senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad are in touch with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. An alliance seems likely between the parties in Delhi and Haryana," Congress sources said.
"Once Rahul Gandhi takes an 'in-principle decision' on allying with AAP, which is expected in next few days and if it's in favour of alliance, a committee will be constituted to negotiate with AAP for sharing seats in Delhi and Haryana," they added.
Delhi will go to polls for its seven Lok Sabha seats on May 12. The results will be declared with the rest of the country on May 23.