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Congress seriously considering withdrawing support to AAP

December 24, 2013 21:10 IST

Congress sources have said that the party is seriously considering withdrawing support to the AAP. Senior party leader Janardan Dwivedi said there was an opinion in the party that the decision to support AAP was perhaps not correct and it should have instead raised people's issues as an opposition. Renu Mittal reports.

Senior Congress leaders led by former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila dixit have pressed the panic button at the thought of Aam Admi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal becoming the chief minister and the AAP forming the government.

A few days after writing to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung extending support to the AAP to form the government, the Congress or at least a section of it appears to be having second thoughts.

Dwivedi said that a group within the party thinks that that the party should not have extended support to the AAP.

“We do not even have the mandate to have a leader of the opposition in the assembly,” he said.

He added that clearly the people didn’t want them to be in power, as the mandate was against them.

“The feeling is that the Congress needs to introspect on its loss. Dwivedi however added that since the support has been given, hum usko nibhayenge (we will deal with it too).

Obviously the mood is one of negativity. Dwivedi added that outside support is issue-based and has conditions attached to it. He said there was no such thing as unconditional support.

Highly-placed sources say that Dixit called her people on Monday and told them to create such a disturbance that the leadership would be forced to withdraw support to the AAP, even before it forms the government. A large number of Congress workers protested through the day and insisted that support be taken back.

It is also learnt that on Monday night, a letter was drafted withdrawing support to the AAP government, but some Congress members of Legislative Assembly protested, saying they would leave the party if this was done.

They said the party will get a bad name and would be called opportunistic for a long time.

Sources said that the panic has its origins in information that AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has documents in his possession on corruption deals of senior Congress leaders, and parts of those are likely to be made public, and Congress leaders say that it is the main reason for the panic within the Dixit camp.

A Congress leader said that Dixit proposed the idea that the Congress should give support to the AAP, but she was under the impression that they would not accept the party’s support.

She was trying to stay on the right side of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, as he is impressed with the performance of the AAP. When Kejriwal met Jung, and when it became clear that they were going to form the government, panic hit Dixit and the strategy now is to ensure that the AAP does not form the government.

The ball is probably in Rahul’s court, and he will take the final decision on whether to go ahead with the letter of support already given.

Within the AAP too, there is rebellion as ‘giant killer’ MLA Vinod Kumar Binny is upset at not getting a ministerial berth. There are others who are angry at having been sidelined by the AAP leadership.

With Kejriwal and his team set to take oath at the Ramlila grounds on December 26, the question of whether that will actually happen is wide open, say sources within the Congress.

Implicit in this is also the threat that those who indulged in corruption would be dealt with severely and not be spared, never mind if the leaders belong to the political party which is giving them support.

Hence the panic among the Congress leaders.

Renu Mittal in New Delhi