By Prarthana Mitra
AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that his party will not be a part of the proposed alliance among the opposition. Also referred to as the third front, it is believed to be instrumental in winning the 2019 general elections against the ruling BJP-NDA alliance.
The Congress and several regional parties including TMC, BSP, NCP, and RJD are onboard with the idea of forging the third front, although the details have not been chalked out yet. Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati are conducting regular talks with Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, and making rousing calls for other parties with a stake, to join hands against the BJP in the coming polls.
Making his announcement at a press meet in Rohtak, Kejriwal said that none of these parties ever played a positive or determining role in the country’s development.
He intends for AAP to contest the Haryana Legislative Assembly polls and the general elections independently from all seats. Alleging that the centre impeded his government’s developmental works in Delhi, he minced no words blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the suspension of important projects in the national capital. “We have done revolutionary work in the education and health sectors in Delhi,” he asserted.
In this regard, the drastic change in Kejriwal’s attitude towards Congress comes after the leading opposition thwarted several attempts at reconciliation and endorsement.
In fact, Sheila Dixit recently accused the protesting AAP leaders shirking actual work by agitating outside the Lieutenant-Governors office. The Congress leader’s statement came at a time when support for AAP was pouring in from non-NDA parties like Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress’ ally in Karnataka Janata Dal (Secular).
These parties are in the cahoots with Congress to forge a third front against the BJP next year. The endorsement matters even more because AAP has made little progress outside the Delhi NCR despite trying. PTI reports Kejriwal demanding 1cr. worth of compensation for the family of a deceased soldier from Haryana’s Ambala district. According to Kejriwal, Haryana was falling behind Delhi in development and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar should learn a thing or two from how the Delhi government gets it done.
With AAP formally retracting support from the opposition, it is clear that the united alternative is far from realisation and it remains to be seen if the two can still arrive at a compromise, over things they see eye to eye on. That said, as the electoral drama prepares to unfold, perhaps this is the not the last we have heard of AAP’s involvement with the alliance.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius