Will fight alone in Delhi but willing to tie-up with AAP only in the national capital: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress announced that it will fight the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi alone but maintained that it is still willing to form an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, provided the tie-up is restricted only to the national capital.

Congress’ in-charge for Delhi P C Chacko said the party will go it alone in Delhi since the AAP has taken an “impractical stand” by demanding seats in Punjab, Haryana, Goa and Chandigarh. He, however, said,”We are still ready (for alliance) if AAP is willing to have an alliance in Delhi alone. We want to fight the BJP together.” “We are compelled to go on our own as AAP is going back on its stand,” Chacko told reporters here.

“We are not able to form an alliance as they have taken a difficult and impractical proposition. Congress is going to fight the election in Delhi on its own,” he said, adding that the party will come out with a candidate list in a day or two. He said the Congress has adopted a policy to form alliances with parties to defeat the BJP and it was being followed all over the country. Chacko said there was a suggestion from the AAP to form an alliance in Delhi. “We have been fighting face-to-face in Delhi. We have fought the municipal election, we fought the assembly election and we have fought the Parliament election. So, naturally, there was political bitterness between us,” he said.

Despite that bitterness, the party responded to the AAP’s proposal of an alliance in Delhi as it was a political necessity, the Delhi Congress in-charge said. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi gave me an assignment and clearance to go and discuss with the AAP and we persuaded the leadership of Delhi as well,” he said. Citing the vote shares of each party in the 2017 civic polls, Chacko said the Congress had won 31 seats, the AAP 49 seats and together the parties had 80 seats in Delhi.

He said while the Congress’ vote share was 21 per cent, the AAP got 26 per cent and together the total vote share was 47 per cent. Chacko said there are 7 Lok Sabha seats in the national capital and with 47 per cent votes together, the Congress on pro-rata basis was eligible to get 3.13 seats, which was rounded off to three seats. The AAP had 26 per cent votes and their pro-rata seat share comes to 3.87, rounded off to four seats, he added.

“So, four seats to AAP and three seats to the Congress was our understanding in the discussion I held with Mr Sanjay Singh. In spite of the reservations of the Congress leaders of Delhi, we thought it is a political necessity that we should be able to come to an understanding to defeat the BJP wherever possible,” Chacko said. “Delhi is an ideal situation where the AAP and the Congress can come together and defeat the BJP on all seats. We had the discussion with this understanding. We arrived at a pact also, but then they raised Haryana and Punjab and some other states,” he said.

“We only want to clarify that it was the instruction of the Congress president to me to have an understanding with the AAP because we want to have understanding with other like-minded parties to defeat the BJP,” the Delhi Congress in-charge said. “We did not want to create any problem. We said ‘if you have started work in some places, we are ready to leave it also.’ So, then we discussed about our corresponding strength in Delhi on the basis of each other’s strength,” he added.

The AAP had on Wednesday rejected the offer of the grand old party for a tie-up in Delhi. All the routes of alliance with the Congress have been closed, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh had said. The Congress was eager for tie-up with the AAP in Delhi. The AAP, in turn, wanted such an alliance to extend to Haryana and Punjab as well. The talks between the two sides derailed after they failed to reach an agreement over seat-sharing in Delhi and Haryana.