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Delhi elections: AAP rules out tie-up with Congress in 2020

Kejriwal will confer with party workers on Sunday to decide the ground plan for the coming months.

, TNN|
May 25, 2019, 12.04 PM IST
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arvind 6
Arvind Kejriwal
(This story originally appeared in on May 25, 2019)
NEW DELHI: As it plans its course of action for the 2020 Delhi assembly elections, Aam Aadmi Party has accepted that its prolonged discussions with Congress on a poll alliance affected its performance in the general elections. AAP came third in terms of vote share, and three of its seven candidates lost their deposits. The party on Friday firmly ruled out a tie-up with Congress for the state polls, thus opening up the prospects of another big triangular contest.

AAP Delhi convener Gopal Rai insisted on Friday that the party would bounce back from the ignominy of the third ranking with a vote share of 18% in the just concluded elections to win a big mandate in the assembly polls because Delhi had “no alternative to Arvind Kejriwal”. Rai argued that the Lok Sabha election was to elect the prime minister and so the electorate was polarised between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, not AAP or Kejriwal.

“Even those who voted for BJP or Congress have said that in the assembly election, they will support AAP because there is no alternative to Kejriwal,” Rai said at a press conference. Asked if the protracted talks on seat sharing had affected AAP’s performance, Rai said there were different views about the matter among the party workers. “The people of Delhi see AAP as a model party, and AAP supporters did not much like the talks of an alliance. We will keep this in view when preparing strategies for the future,” Rai said.

The desperation shown by the party to firm up an understanding with Congress was a big reason for their defeat, some AAP candidates apparently admitted. “The long wait affected our prospects,” a party insider confided. “Till the ultimate day for filing nominations, the candidates were worried about having to give up their seats to Congress.”

Kejriwal will confer with party workers on Sunday to decide the ground plan for the coming months. AAP has refrained from fixing responsibility for its worst electoral performance in the seven years of its existence on any one leader. “The campaign was a collective responsibility of leaders. No individual is responsible for the defeat,” said Rai.

The party does not believe that its campaign for full-fledged statehood for Delhi failed to click with the voters. “Full statehood is a genuine issue and important for Delhi. In this election many issues connected with the lives of the people, such as unemployment, farmer suicides, farm distress couldn’t become issues either,” Rai said, though he acknowledged APP’s failure to convince people that voting for the party would help development in the capital.

Refraining from talking about EVMs on Friday, AAP decided instead to focus on the development projects it has successfully executed in the city. “To make our campaign more effective at the assembly level, we will review our strategy and iron out deficiencies,” the Delhi convenor said.

AAP rose on Delhi’s horizon by taking Congress head on in 2012. It ran aggressive campaigns against Congress leaders and made an impactful, if short-lived, debut in 2013 before capturing power with a massive victory in 2015.

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