Delhi Congress meets to shortlist candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats, may fly solo in national capital

Senior Congress leaders PC Chacko and KC Venugopal, who are also part of the screening panel, have already conveyed the party high command's decision to Sheila Dikshit.

Published: 31st March 2019 05:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2019 05:10 PM   |  A+A-

Sheila Dikshit, Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal (L) and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit(R). (File | Agencies)

By Online Desk

While the Delhi Congress' Screening Committee met at former CM and senior party leader Sheila Dikshit's house late Saturday night to shortlist candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital, it is learned that party chief Rahul Gandhi has directed the party to not form any pre-poll alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Senior Congress leaders PC Chacko and KC Venugopal, who are also a part of the panel, have already conveyed the party high command's decision to Sheila Dikshit, reported NDTV. A formal announcement on this regard is likely to be made on Sunday or Monday, sources said.

The committee will shortlist names from around 80 applications received from party probables last month.

A senior party leader said that on an average, two to three names will be shortlisted on each seat and the new list will be sent to the party high-command for taking the final call.

While the national capital votes on May 12, the results will be declared with the rest of the country on May 23.

The development comes amid AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal saying that he would not need Congress' help to win seats in the national capital. 

However, he remarked that any alliance with the Grand Old Party would help AAP to keep the BJP out in the 10 Lok Sabha seats of Haryana and in Punjab.

"Rahul Gandhi should think about an alliance in Haryana... People of the country want to defeat the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo. If in Haryana, JJP (Jannayak Janata Party), AAP and Congress fight together, then the BJP will lose in all 10 seats," Kejriwal had said.

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Dikshit, who turned 81 on Sunday, told the media persons post the late-night meet, "in some time, the things will be clear. You will get to know about it in a matter of a few hours, by this evening or by tomorrow. There will be an official announcement," she said while replying to question about the alliance.

She also said that Kejriwal so far has not approached her on alliance prospects.

The Delhi Congress chief, who ruled the national capital for 15 years, was dethroned by Kejriwal in 2013 assembly elections.

A few weeks back, she had warned Rahul and Sonia Gandhi in a letter that an alliance with AAP would hurt the Congress in the long run. However, other party leaders also wrote to their top leadership seeking a tie-up with AAP.

With Opposition stepping up their attacks against the Modi government in the last few weeks, NCP chief and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar tried to mediate between the two parties on March 19 for a pre-poll alliance. While Congress wanted three seats in the national capital, AAP offered only one.

With the talks failing, Kejriwal said that he had been fed up of trying to convince the Congress when it came to alliance prospects.

(With PTI Inputs)

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