AAP to contest Lok Sabha polls on issue of full statehood, says leader Gopal Rai
The AAP will fight the Lok Sabha polls on the issue of full statehood and it is "late now" for talks on an alliance in Delhi, a senior party leader said on Thursday, a day after the Congress sought views from its workers on a possible tie-up with the ruling party.
The national election will begin April 11 and will continue till May 19. Polling on seven seats in Delhi will be held on May 12. The BJP had won all the parliamentary seats in the national capital in 2014.
Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Gopal Rai questioned the official stand of the BJP on the issue, saying the party's leaders are giving conflicting statements on the matter as they are "rattled by the AAP's movement towards attaining full statehood" for Delhi.
He made the remark referring to different media reports.
Mr Rai quoted from a media report in which Union Minister Vijay Goel has reportedly said the BJP is in favour of full statehood but it is not possible if the city has a chief minister like Arvind Kejriwal.
He also referred to another media report in which Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari allegedly said that full statehood would not be part of BJP''s manifesto.
"What is BJP's official stand on granting full statehood to Delhi. We want an answer on that. On one hand, Tiwari says it will not be granted to Delhi while Goel says full statehood would not be given as long as Kejriwal is the chief minister," Mr Rai said.
The AAP has declared its candidates for six of the seven seats in Delhi.
On an alliance with the Congress in Delhi, Mr Rai said "There is a very big challenge in front of the country and it is late now (for an alliance). After the official statement of the Congress, AAP thought if Congress is moving towards helping BJP, we need to stop the BJP and based on that we announced our candidates and launched our campaign following that."
"So, AAP has moved ahead with the agenda of full statehood and alliance is not an agenda for the AAP," he told reporters.
On Wednesday, the Congress sought views from its workers on a possible tie-up with the Kejriwal-led AAP.
The Congress through its Shakti app uploaded an audio clip by senior leader PC Chacko, asking party workers in Delhi about their views on an alliance with AAP, a senior Congress leader said.
In the message sent to the party workers through its mobile application, the Congress is trying to untangle the contentious issue of alliance with AAP, he added.
According to sources, Mr Kejriwal met senior party members after the Congress sought views through the audio clip.
It was decided in the meeting that now the AAP would react only when the Congress gives an official proposal for alliance, sources said.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh said the Congress is in a "confused state".
"I think the Congress is in a confused state and they are not able to decide when or what decision should be taken. The biggest challenge in front of the country is stop the politics of hatred by the BJP.
"Congress'' priority should be how the country should be protected from the country. But the Congress is giving different statements," he said.
There has been a flip-flop over alliance between the Congress and AAP in Delhi. Earlier, Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit, after a meeting with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, had claimed that there is unanimity against alliance with the AAP.
Sources said the grand old party is ready for alliance if the AAP agrees to leave New Delhi, Chandni Chowk and North West seats for the Congress.
On Wednesday, Mr Kejriwal had proposed an alliance with the Congress in Haryana, saying his party needed no partnership in Delhi.
Mr Rai said the AAP is going full throttle on the issue and the movement towards it started on Wednesday when Mr Kejriwal burnt the 2014 manifesto of the BJP in which they promised full statehood to Delhi.
"Now, the MLAs will burn BJP manifestos in their respective constituencies on March 15 (Friday) and ward in-charges will do the same on March 17 (Sunday)," he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Kejriwal had said the upcoming polls will be fought on the issue of full statehood. He had criticised Modi for not fulfilling this promise as mentioned in BJP''s 2014 manifesto.
"It amounts to cheating. They (the BJP) should come clean," Kejriwal had said.
He had said once Delhi attains full statehood, the AAP will ensure that women roam freely even at night and the party will also give 85 per cent reservations to local people in jobs and colleges.
Mr Kejriwal also referred to the sealing of shops earlier this year and said the party would have halted the process within five minutes.
On the issue of alleged harassment of call centre employees hired by the AAP to inform citizens about voter deletion, Mr Singh said an AAP delegation led by senior party leader Manish Sisodia will meet the Election Commission at Nirvachan Sadan on Friday.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls scheduled to begin on April 11, the Election Commission had directed the police to take "necessary action" against people making "misleading" phone calls about the city''s electoral rolls. An FIR was also filed in this matter.
A BJP team also held a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and alleged that the AAP was behind such phone calls.
Meanwhile, the AAP leaders asserted that they were responsible for hiring the call centre employees and the police should question the leaders instead of these workers.