Congress extends olive branch to AAP as Kejriwal rules out support to BJP

KejriwalKejriwal had ruled out support to BJP and termed as "personal opinion" the remarks of party leader Prashant Bhushan.

With both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) not having the required numbers, the Congress on Tuesday said it was open to extending "unconditional, outside support" to the latter to form the government in Delhi. But AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal reiterated that there was no question of giving or taking support from either the Congress or the BJP.

"A number of senior leaders in Delhi believe that we should give unconditional support to AAP to form a government in Delhi. They believe we should extend outside support to it. We would not want to burden the people with another election," said AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi, Shakeel Ahmed, after a meeting with the party's newly-elected MLAs.

But Kejriwal maintained that the BJP, as the single largest party, should attempt to form a government after taking support from the Congress. The AAP has claimed that both the Congress and BJP are in essence very similar parties, united by the alleged corruption that runs through their ranks.

Ahmed said a final decision would be taken by party president Sonia Gandhi. "She is not in Delhi right now. But these concerns will be taken up with her. The ultimate decision will be taken by her," he said.

While the official reason for sending feelers to the AAP is the "burden" of fresh elections, senior leaders said the move was aimed at stopping "communal forces" in at least one state. "The BJP's victory in three states is a cause of great concern. By extending outside support to AAP, we will at least be able to stop communalisation of politics in Delhi," said a party leader.

Congress leader Mateen Ahmed, who won from Seelampur, said the party's eight MLAs favoured outside support to AAP. "Since the people of Delhi have given them 28 of 70 seats, they should take up the responsibility of forming the government in the state, and we will support them from outside," he said.

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