The Aam Aadmi Party will take a call on its stand on the presidential poll after an opposition party meeting tomorrow, AAP said today. AAP, however, has not been invited to the meet. With a total of 85 MLAs in Delhi and Punjab and four MPs, the party has nearly 9,000 votes in the electoral college that will elect the president, but has largely been left out of the opposition parleys on the issue. “We will take a call after the meeting of opposition parties,” senior party leader Ashutosh said. It would take a stand after taking into account the opposition’s position on the issue.
He parried a question on whether the party would support NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind, saying that ever since the BJP came to power in May 2014, atrocities against Dalits in the country had increased. The party was not consulted by a three-member BJP panel which had talks with opposition parties on a consensus candidate for the presidential poll, to be held on July 17, or invited to a Congress-led meeting of opposition parties on the issue last month.
AAP, however, is in touch with the Trinamool Congress, the Left parties and the JD(U). The Congress’s decision not to invite AAP to the May 26 lunch meeting, hosted by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, was widely perceived as a snub to the party that rules Delhi. The Congress does not see AAP as an ally, which it believes aims at unseating the Congress as the main opposition party at the national level and in several states in the long run.
In the past, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has often attacked the Congress, especially Gandhi’s son-in-law, Robert Vadra. The Nationalist Congress Party is also seen to be sidelining AAP because of Kejriwal’s personal attacks on NCP leader Sharad Pawar. With Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar “welcoming” the NDA’s move nominating Dalit activist Kovind, the opposition seems to be divided on the issue. But Ashutosh said the JD(U) decision would not influence AAP.