Leaders of both parties said they were “willing” to jointly contest against BJP but no consensus could be built on seat sharing. While AAP said that its candidates will start filing nomination from April 18, Congress sources said they might announce candidates for all seven seats either on Wednesday or Thursday, leaving only two days for them to take a final call on alliance.
After a meeting at the residence of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, which was attended by Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Delhi convenor Gopal Rai and minister Satyendar Jain, AAP decided not to budge from its demand to contest on five seats if the alliance is only restricted to Delhi. AAP said it will give three seats to Congress in Delhi if Congress gives one seat in return in Haryana.
“AAP has authorised Sanjay Singh for holding alliance talks with Congress. Rahul Gandhi should authorise someone who can hold talks with AAP on 18 seats of Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh and formulate a strategy to defeat BJP,” Manish Sisodia tweeted after the meeting.
While Singh has met Congress general secretary in charge for Delhi, P C Chacko, twice before, sources said AAP wants another round of negotiations so that it can convince the grand old party of the importance of extending the alliance to Haryana and Chandigarh. “We have decided that the alliance will not be finalised or broken on Twitter. We want to make them understand the importance of the alliance in defeating BJP,” said Rai.
Congress sources, however, said they were sticking to the 4-3 formula and it was “non- negotiable”. “We have explained to the AAP leaders the rationale behind it. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has advised us to make the best efforts for the alliance with AAP, but to go alone in Delhi if results are not encouraging,” a senior party leader said requesting anonymity.
AAP is still sticking to its demand for seats in Haryana and Chandigarh. “We request Congress to drop the ego of being a larger party and consider the situation and make a strategy to defeat BJP. We want to make them understand that defeating BJP in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi is important. The interest of the country is paramount. We will again try to make them understand how the alliance can defeat BJP,” Rai said at a press conference.
Though AAP has already formed an alliance with Jannayak Janta Party in Haryana it is confident that it will convince JJP to join the alliance by getting only three seats.
“If Congress agrees for an alliance in Haryana we are ready to accept the 6:3:1 formula (six for Congress, three for JJP and one for AAP). JJP will also accept this formula,” said a source in AAP. Congress has also announced candidates on six of the 10 seats.
AAP sources said that it would not be an easy task to convince the JJP to join the alliance. JJP chief Dushyant Chautala had told TOI on Monday that he was not ready to have a tie-up with Congress.