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Congress “Nearly Said No” To Alliance: AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal

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A day after a late- night opposition meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi,Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the Congress had “nearly said no” to an alliance with his Aam Aadmi Party. 

“We are very worried about the nation, so we are more keen (on an alliance). The Congress has almost said no to an alliance,” Arvind Kejriwal told reporters today.

The Delhi Chief Minister was at a meeting at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar’s home to prepare a united strategy for the national election due by May, which also featured Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi.

“We will compete with each other as well,” said Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress president’s comment after the meeting had indicated that his party was ready to go it alone in both West Bengal and Delhi, where his party is a rival to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP.

Mamata Banerjee announced that the opposition parties had decided on a pre-poll alliance to take on PM Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP. On the question of an alliance in Bengal and Delhi, she said it has “not been decided yet”.

But sources said there were discussions on a possible alliance between Mr Kejriwal’s party and the Congress in Delhi. Opposition leaders reportedly noted that the lack of an alliance in Delhi could harm the unity agenda, sources said.

Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats, all of which were won by the BJP in the 2014 national elections. But in the subsequent assembly election, Mr Kejriwal’s party had won big. AAP swept the 2015 elections, while the Congress scored a duck.

The Congress-AAP dynamics had been skewed from the beginning, with Mr Kejriwal’s party being an offshoot of the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare that had targeted the Congress government in Delhi led by Sheila Dikshit.

Still, the two parties had entered a partnership in 2013, which ended with Mr Kejriwal’s 49-day tenure as Chief Minister.

The parties, which have been at loggerheads since, had to re-calibrate their stance after persuasion from opposition leaders — Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, DMK chief MK Stalin and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury. Co-opted into the united opposition, Mr Kejriwal even shared stage with Rahul Gandhi.

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