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OPINION | Challenges before Kejriwal

Congress spokesperson Gurdeep Singh Sappal, who was present at Sharad Pawar's meeting with Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, later reminded Arvind Kejriwal of how Congress had extended support to AAP in the past.

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: October 08, 2023 6:14 IST
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Image Source : INDIA TV Aaj Ki Baat with Rajat Sharma

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday questioned Sarvesh Mishra, an assistant of arrested AAP MP Sanjay Singh, who is alleged to have taken Rs 2 crore cash from a liquor businessman. Two more assistants of Sanjay Singh, Vivek Tyagi and Kanwarvir Singh have also been summoned for questioning. Even as the ED's noose tightens around Sanjay Singh and his assistants, political spat has begun between Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, sowing seeds of dissensions in the newly-formed I.N.D.I.A opposition alliance. 

On Friday, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal gave a strong message to AAP to desist from settling 'political scores' in Punjab. Venugopal tweeted, "AAP MP Sanjay Singh's arrest by the ED takes the BJP's vendetta politics to another level. We stand in complete solidarity with him and reject the use of law enforcement agencies to settle political scores. For this reason, we also oppose the arrests of All India Kisan Sabha Chairperson Shri Sukhpal Khaira and former Punjab Deputy Cm Shri O P Soni ji by the Punjab police. Democratic principles of a fair trial and authorities acting within the boundaries of the Constitution are non-negotiable. We cannot become those we oppose." 

There were reports of NCP chief Sharad Pawar mediating between the two parties, when he met Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The interesting part is that while several top parties in I.N.D.I.A alliance have condemned Sanjay Singh's arrest, Congress leaders are maintaining a stony silence. On Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reacted by saying, "those who want to come with us, let them some or let them stay away, it won't make a difference, because the liquor scam is fake." 

Congress spokesperson Gurdeep Singh Sappal, who was present at Pawar's meeting with Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, later reminded Kejriwal of how Congress had extended support to AAP in the past. 

Sappal said, Congress party's intentions are bonafide, but Kejriwal's party must see what its government is doing in Punjab. One must understand the background before assessing the spat between Congress and Kejriwal in Delhi and Punjab. Electoral results clearly show the dominance of Kejriwal's party in both states and Congress cannot stake claim to Lok Sabha seats in these two states. In Delhi Assembly polls, Congress failed to win a single seat, while it could win only 18 seats in Punjab. Kejriwal's claim is therefore justified that it is only AAP which can give a tough fight to BJP in both these states. 

For Kejriwal, joining I.N.D.I.A alliance is not going to give additional benefits to AAP in both these states. On the contrary, AAP may be asked to leave two or four seats to Congress. In states where Congress has dominance, AAP has little chances of getting a single seat as concession from the Congress. It is in this context that Sharad Pawar is trying to convince all sides not to quarrel over seats now. Most of the leaders in I.N.D.I.A alliance realise this because they are worried about actions taken by ED and CBI. Some of these leaders are either spending time in jail or are trying to get bail. But, in the game of politics, parties move ahead only with their own advantage in mind. While Congress dithered in supporting AAP on the issue of Sanjay Singh's arrest, Kejriwal has also hit back at the Congress. 

On Friday, Aam Aadmi Party appointed party in-charge for all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana. This is clear indication that if Congress does not change its stand, Kejriwal may field candidates in those states which are going to witness a direct fight between Congress and BJP.

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