AAP joining grand alliance ahead of 2019 polls now a possibility as Delhi Congress likely to see change of guard

Much of the ice between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress appears to have thawed, seeing how the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit received an invitation for the swearing-in ceremonies of chief ministers in three states, where the grand old party dethroned the BJP in the Assembly elections that concluded on 11 December.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh attended the swearing-in ceremony of Ashok Gehlot, who was appointed the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

While announcing the party's decision to accept the Congress' invitation to showcase Opposition unity before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Sanjay Singh said: "The invitation was meant for party convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. But I will attend the function on his behalf."

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

The bonhomie between the arch rivals comes after Kejriwal announced they would do everything to prevent the BJP from coming back to power. "I believe the team of Amit Shahji and Narendra Modiji is dangerous for the country's present and future. If they come to power in 2019, they will not even spare the Constitution; nothing would be left. So it is the responsibility of every patriotic citizen of the country to defeat the team, and to do that, we will take all the measures we can."

No wonder the Congress party's invitation to AAP is being considered an indication of inducting the outfit into the scheme of a possible grand alliance of Opposition parties before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Interestingly, for this probable grand alliance to succeed in the 2019 elections, Delhi, where AAP is in power, will prove to be a problematic region as it is one of the few places where the two secular parties, which intend to be allies in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, have been at loggerheads with each other.

On one hand, AAP rose to power in Delhi for the first time three ago, trouncing the Congress. On the other hand, Kejriwal's party plays the role of a staunch Opposition in Punjab, where the Congress is in power.

The rivalry between the two have become part of the daily affairs of the politics in the national capital as Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken has left no stone unturned to criticise AAP. Maken also spurned a number of times AAP's gestures for truce, and as a result, back-channel talks failed on numerous occasions.

But now, the situation seems to have taken a u-turn, with Maken expressing his unwillingness to continue as the Delhi chief of the Congress.

In a recent letter to party president Rahul Gandhi, Maken reportedly expressed his unwillingness to continue in the high Congress post on health grounds, though the Congress leadership has yet to accept his resignation.

Sharmistha Mukherjee, another leader of the Delhi Congress unit, told Firstpost: "Although Ajay Maken has clearly expressed his problems to the party high command, he will continue to remain the Delhi chief of the party until a decision is made by the top leadership."

With a change of guard imminent in the Congress' Delhi chapter, efforts for a truce with AAP seem to have taken off.

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2018 07:41:16 IST

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