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Rahul Gandhi points ‘U-turn’ finger at Arvind Kejriwal

Rahul's carefully crafted message portrays Kejriwal as the one who wrecked the possible Congress-AAP coalition

By Our Special Correspondent in New Delhi

  • Published 16.04.19, 6:10 AM
  • Updated 16.04.19, 6:10 AM
Congress President Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi (PTI)

Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Arvind Kejriwal of “another U-turn” as alliance talks with the Aam Aadmi Party drifted towards a dead end, publicly blaming the AAP leader in an obvious attempt to position himself as the main contender for anti-BJP votes.

A few days after the Congress had publicly announced the collapse of the deal, Rahul tweeted on Monday evening: “An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up four 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.”

The carefully crafted message is aimed at portraying Kejriwal as the one who wrecked the possible coalition and could anger Dalits, Muslims and the section of the middle class that has turned hostile towards the BJP.

Rahul has already established himself as the main challenger to Modi in the rest of the country and this message could provide him the edge in Delhi too.

 Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal (PTI)

Kejriwal reacted with alacrity through a tweet: “Which U-turn? Negotiations were on at present. Your tweet shows alliance is not your desire but only a pretense. I am pained you are making such statements when the priority should be to save the country from Modi-Shah threat. It is unfortunate you are helping the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and other states as well by dividing the anti-Modi vote.”

The tenor of Kejriwal’s tweet betrays concern caused by Rahul’s message, which was primarily aimed at capturing the anti-BJP space.

Rahul also reiterated that he was still open to a 3-4 seat-share formula.

Kejriwal didn’t respond to the Delhi offer, while senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh offered his old argument about Congress rigidity in Punjab and Haryana.

AAP leaders appear to betray lack of confidence and it is clear they anticipate a tough contest, which is entirely different from their overwhelming dominance in the Assembly elections when the AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi and the Congress had failed to open its account.

If the Congress shows signs of revival in the parliamentary elections, it can jeopardise the AAP’s chances in the next election.

The Congress is expecting cutthroat competition in at least four of the seven seats in Delhi, which would ensure a significant jump in its vote share.

The Congress had got barely 9.7 per cent votes in the 2015 Assembly elections while the AAP got a whopping 54.3 per cent. The BJP had polled 32.3 per cent of the votes.

The Congress will be back in the reckoning if its vote share jumps to 20 per cent or higher.

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