The six AAP candidates who filed their papers are Pankaj Gupta (Chandni Chowk), Atishi (East Delhi), Gugan Singh (North West), Raghav Chadha (South Delhi), Dilip Pandey (North East Delhi) and Brajesh Goel (New Delhi).
The possibility of an alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress seems bleak as all candidates of the ruling party in Delhi have filed their nominations and the grand old party declared names of its six candidates who would be contesting the general elections. The six AAP candidates who filed their papers are Pankaj Gupta (Chandni Chowk), Atishi (East Delhi), Gugan Singh (North West), Raghav Chadha (South Delhi), Dilip Pandey (North East Delhi) and Brajesh Goel (New Delhi).
Atishi was accompanied by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, while Pankaj Gupta was accompanied by senior party leader Satyendar Jain while filing their nomination papers. Similarly, Gugan Singh was accompanied by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and Dilip Pandey was seen with senior party leader Gopal Rai. Brajesh Goyal filed his nomination in the presence of senior party leader N D Gupta.
The party’s west Delhi candidate Balbir Singh Jakhar filed his nomination papers last week. Sisodia Monday said the AAP would have lost seats if an alliance was agreed to just in the national capital. “We would have lost seats if there was an alliance just in Delhi. Congress would have lost all three seats if there was an alliance with the AAP,” he told reporters.
Uncertainity over the tie-up in the national capital has been going on for over four months now. The speculations became rife after Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with other ‘mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) leaders stage during a farmers rally last year. AAP chose Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh as its negotiator for seats with the Congress, while P C Chacko represented the grand old party in this regard. However, the alliance talks soon turned into a ‘war of words’ with leaders of the two parties taking potshots at each other publicly.
Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit asserted that the Congress was capable of contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on its own and accused Kejriwal of spreading lies on the alliance issue. Kejriwal, in turn, in several public meetings said he was “tired” of convincing the Congress for an alliance to defeat the BJP. But sources said several meetings were held in the backdrop by Singh and Chacko over seat-sharing equations even as Kejriwal said last month that no more talks were going on between the two parties.
While the AAP, on one hand, was looking for forming an alliance on 33 seats in Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Haryana and Chandigarh, the Congress proposed a tie-up only in the national capital. Rahul Gandhi accused Kejriwal of taking a ‘U-turn’, adding the Congress proposed to give four seats to the AAP in the seven-seat alliance in Delhi, to which the AAP said an alliance could not be done on only seven seats in Delhi.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party, however, later agreed to 18 seats arrangement in Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, only to be rejected by the Congress which maintained that an alliance was possible only in the national capital, following which the AAP called off the talks. Adding to the long-drawn ‘alliance battle’ was statements of AAP leaders that the Congress backtracked on the seat sharing arrangement.
The Delhi deputy chief minister said giving three seats to the Congress in the national capital would mean “giving three seats to the BJP”.
He said the Congress had first proposed 6:3:1 seat sharing formula to the AAP in Haryana, wherein six seats would be for Congress, three for Janayak Janata Party and one seat for AAP.
“Our decision to form an alliance with the Congress was to stop the Modi-Shah duo,” Sisodia said. “The Congress has zero presence in Delhi even then they want nearly half of the seats. With that logic, the Congress should form an alliance in Punjab and Haryana too. We have 20 MLAs and 4 MPs in Punjab, then why can’t an alliance be formed with us?” he said.
Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, “After discussions with our alliance partner in Haryana (JJP), we agreed to it, but the Congress refused and said they cannot give more than two seats to the JJP and proposed 7:2:1 formula.” “JJP chief Dushyant Chautala even agreed to it, but the Congress backtracked again, saying there was no possibility of formation of an alliance anywhere except Delhi,” he said.
The last date for filing nominations and withdrawing names is April 24 and April 26, respectively. Delhi goes to poll on May 12 and the results will be out on May 23.