Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Monday that “clock was running out” on an alliance between his party and Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party—his first comment on seat-sharing negotiations that appear to be repeatedly running into roadblocks.
Gandhi accused AAP's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal of going back on his word. In a tweet on Monday he said: “An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this. But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn! Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out”.
AAP was quick to respond. In his tweet, written in Hindi, Kejriwal accused the Congress of pretending to want a coalition. He said in response to Gandhi's tweet: "What U-turn? Talks are still ongoing.
Your tweets show you don’t really want a coalition, that it’s just a show. I’m sad that you’re making such statements. Today we need to save the country from the Modi-Shah. Unfortunately, you’re helping Modiji by dividing anti-Modi votes in UP and other states too”.
An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 15, 2019
But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn!
Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out. #AbAAPkiBaari
AAP leader Sanjay Singh blamed the repeated failure of talks on the Congress saying: “By compromising on 31 seats in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh, Congress could end the possibility of Modiji’s return to power. Why do you want to keep the possibility alive, Congress”.
“In states where the Opposition is strong, UP, West Bengal and Kerala, Congress is putting up strong fights. But in states where Congress is strong, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Congress is quiet. Why aren’t you putting up a fight there, Congress,” Sanjay Singh said in his tweets, also in Hindi.
पंजाब,हरियाणा,दिल्ली,चंडीगढ़ की 31 सीटों पर समझौता करके आप मोदी के दुबारा सत्ता में लौटने की सम्भावना को पूरी तरह समाप्त कर सकते हैं Cong, मोदी जी के सत्ता में लौटने की सम्भावना को क्यों जीवित रखना चाहती है? https://t.co/tJSQBnvH7O— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) April 15, 2019
Kejriwal on his part said in a statement on Sunday that he was willing to do “anything to save the country” from BJP’s top brass, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah.
On Sunday, Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "The country is in danger. To save the country from (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi Ji and Amit Shah Ji's 'jodi', we are ready to do whatever is needed. Our efforts will continue till the end."
जिन राज्यों में विपक्ष मज़बूत है UP, वेस्ट बंगाल, केरल वहाँ Cong पूरी मज़बूती के साथ लड़ रही है जहाँ Cong मज़बूत लड़ सकती है MP छत्तीसगढ़ राजस्थान महाराष्ट्र गुजरात वहाँ Cong शांत पड़ी है भाजपा के ख़िलाफ़ क्यों ताक़त नही लगा रही है Cong? https://t.co/tJSQBnvH7O— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) April 15, 2019
Seat-sharing negotiations between the two parties that have been ongoing for more than a month appear to repeatedly run into stumbling blocks. Previous attempt at forging the alliance failed after Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit put her foot down. The development also brought to the fore divisions within the Congress party’s Delhi unit over such an alliance.
Both parties have blamed the other for the deadlock. AAP has been asking for the alliance talks to extend to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, but Congress has so far resisted, saying the talks would be limited to Delhi alone.
कौन सा U-टर्न?अभी तो बातचीत चल रही थी— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 15, 2019
आपका ट्वीट दिखाता है कि गठबंधन आपकी इच्छा नहीं मात्र दिखावा है।मुझे दुःख है आप बयान बाज़ी कर रहे हैं
आज देश को मोदी-शाह के ख़तरे से बचाना अहं है।दुर्भाग्य कि आप UP और अन्य राज्यों में भी मोदी विरोधी वोट बाँट कर मोदी जी की मदद कर रहे हैं https://t.co/9jnYXJFA0S
Congress has already announced it would contest all seven of Delhi’s parliamentary seats alone. AAP meanwhile has forged an alliance with Jannayak Janata Party, a recently minted breakway from the Indian National Lok Dal, for Haryana's 10 Parliamentary seats.
Observers took Kejriwal’s statement to mean he was willing to climb down on seat-sharing demands, but Gandhi’s tweet on Monday has once again thrown that into question.