New Delhi: Delhi Cabinet Minister and senior AAP leader Gopal Rai on Tuesday claimed that the Congress was in an ‘unofficial alliance’ with the BJP against the city-state’s ruling party for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
Talking to media persons here, Rai said: “For the Congress leaders, their party is bigger than the nation. In Delhi, over the last four years, we have seen them speaking the BJP’s language. To save itself, Congress will be ready to help BJP in an unofficial way.”
To further buttress his point, Rai gave the example of last Assembly polls in Punjab. “The BJP joined hands with the Congress tacitly in Punjab to defeat the AAP. They still want to be in alliance with each other for the coming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi,” he alleged.
Commenting on the war of words over Pulwama terror attack which resulted in the death of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, he said: “Those who are drowning get the help of a twig. BJP has pushed soldiers to borders to win elections. I challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win the coming polls without taking the support of our soldiers.”
Rai also criticized Prime Minister Modi for not honouring the promise to grant full statehood to Delhi even after his wish to win all seven Lok Sabha seats was fulfilled in 2014. “Prime Minister Modi has just insulted the government and the people of Delhi.”
The minister said the AAP was set to launch a mega campaign on March 10 to press for the demand of full statehood to Delhi. “As many as 1,000 teams will participate in the campaign. We will win the elections,” he said.
After snubbed by the Congress party, AAP on March 2 announced candidates for six out of seven Lok Sabha seats, which are at stake in the city-state. The party has fielded Brajesh Goyal from New Delhi, Aatishi from East Delhi, Dilip K Pandey from North East Delhi, Raghav Chadha from South Delhi, Pankaj Gupta from Chandani Chowk, and Gugan Singh from North West Delhi. AAP has not yet announced the candidate for West Delhi Lok Sabha seat.
Pankaj Gupta, who has been fielded from Chandani Chowk seat, is a software engineer and is a founder national secretary of AAP. At present, BJP leader and Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan represents Chandani Chowk seat. He had defeated Ashutosh of AAP by 1,36,320 votes in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
From North East Delhi seat, AAP has fielded Dilip Pandey, also a software engineer. At present, this seat is represented by Manoj Tiwari, who is also the president of BJP’s Delhi unit. In the last Lok Sabha poll, Tiwari had defeated Prof Anand Kumar of AAP by 1,44,084 votes.
AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) Aatishi will try her luck from East Delhi, which is currently held by BJP’s Mahesh Giri, who had defeated AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi by 1,90,463 votes. Aatishi is an alumna of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College.
From South Delhi, AAP spokesperson and chartered accountant Raghav Chadha will try his luck. In 2014 Lok Sabha poll, AAP had fielded Col Devinder Sehrawat, who lost the poll to BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri.
Gugan Singh is AAP’s choice for North West Delhi seat (reserved), which is currently held by Udit Raj of the BJP, who had defeated Rakhi Birla of AAP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls by a margin of over one lakh votes. He was earlier associated with the BSP.
From New Delhi seat, AAP has fielded Brajesh Goyal, a science graduate and yoga expert. The seat is currently held by Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP, who had defeated Ashish Khetan by a margin of 1,62,708 votes. According to AAP’s statement, Goyal has been fighting for the cause of traders for the past seven years.