Chacko had publicly said that the alliance should happen, though he had added that the final call would be that of Mr Gandhi.
New Delhi: After weeks of dithering, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are learnt to have agreed in-principal to form a pre-poll alliance for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. Both the parties will fight on three seats each, while one seat will be contested jointly by fielding a common independent candidate.
Sources privy to developments said that the final approval to the decision will be given by Congress’ core group and a formal announcement is likely soon. Polling for city’s seven Lok Sabha seats, all currently held by the BJP, will take place on May 12.
The Congress is learnt to have kept the New Delhi, Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi seats with itself, while the seats of North East Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi have been allotted to the AAP.
The remaining West Delhi seat is likely to be allotted to an independent candidate who would be jointly selected by both the parties, sources informed.
Sources said that despite objection by Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit, the Congress agreed to enter into an arrangement with the AAP with a pre-condition that the Arvind Kejriwal-led party will not insist on an alliance in other states. The Congress and the AAP are pitted against each other in Punjab.
The two parties’ alliance in Delhi comes as a surprise, especially after party chief Rahul Gandhi had last week asked booth level workers to ensure victory of party candidates on all seven seats.
Sources said that Congress’ Delhi in-charge P.C. Chacko is learnt to have played a major role in the change in the party’s stand, as a majority of city party workers — when asked about their opinion on the alliance proposal through the party’s Shakti app — are said to have given their approval to the a tie-up with the AAP.
It is learnt that the party high command reconsidered its stand on alliance with the AAP after receiving a positive feedback from party workers.
Mr Chacko had publicly said that the alliance should happen, though he had added that the final call would be that of Mr Gandhi.
Interestingly, the change in party’s stand is likely to leave Ms Dikshi, who recently took over as the city Congress chief, on a sticky wicket. She was the chief minister in Delhi when the AAP was formed in 2013 amid allegations of corruption in the city government.
Anti-corruption activist-turned-politician Kejriwal had targeted Ms Dikshit-led government over alleged corruption and wrested power from the Congress in 2013, ending the party’s 15-year rule in the city.
The Congress-AAP reunion is likely to give fresh ammunition to the BJP which has always maintained that the AAP is a “B-team” of the Congress and that the two parties had a backdoor pact.
The AAP and the Congress had a bitter divorce in 2014, within 49 days of Mr Kejriwal taking oath as the chief minister in his first tenure. Mr Kejriwal had resigned on February 14, 2014, abruptly bringing to end the tenure of the AAP’s first ever government in the country.