It’s now certain that Delhi will witness a tri-cornered contest for all seven Lok Sabha seats as the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) failed to cobble together an alliance with the Congress. The bumbling AAP Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s my-way-or-the-highway approach ensured there could be no honourable deal with the Congress, though it was well known that a fracture in the opposition would give the BJP a huge advantage.
While the Congress wanted at least three seats, the AAP was prepared to give only two in a standalone Delhi deal. To part with three seats, the AAP wanted pacts in Haryana, Punjab and Goa as well, which the Congress was not prepared to concede.
The Congress’ claim for three seats was based on its performance in the local body elections, where it did fairly well. Also, remember it was the ruling party in Delhi till late 2013 with Sheila Dikshit heading the government for three successive terms until the Kejriwal phenomenon happened. He swallowed a large chunk of the Congress vote bank, much like the BJP ate up the Congress votes in Tripura to register a landslide there, but the grand old party has since made a smart recovery in the Capital. And the Kerjiwal aura is fading.
On balance, the Congress appeared to be more accommodative that the AAP, since it kept a window open till the very last moment despite state unit chief Sheila Dikshit’s bitter opposition to the deal. But AAP’s cowboy approach to the whole process and its name-calling itch made it look like a really bad customer. The push for the alliance started when Congress president Rahul Gandhi met Kejriwal at NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence in Delhi a few weeks ago.
The formula at that time was 3-3 with one going to an independent. Kejriwal later jacked it up to 4-3 and got Rahul on board. But the AAP boss was not done yet, as he added other states to the basket. Sources said the Congress was prepared to give three seats to the AAP in Haryana, but the latter reneged. Kejriwal ought to realise that the politics of brinkmanship does not always pay. If the BJP sweeps Delhi, he will have only himself to blame