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Rahul Gandhi Shuts Door On AAP, Says Will Contest All 7 Seats In Delhi

NEW DELHI: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi today cleared the air after party leader Sheila Dikshit's comment had triggered speculation about a change of heart regarding an alliance with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. There will be no tie-up and the Congress will go it alone on all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Mr Gandhi said. Last week, after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi - UPA chairperson and Rahul Gandhi's mother - Shiela Dikshit said the Congress had "no alliance yet" in Delhi. The meeting and the comment both came after AAP leaders urged Rahul Gandhi for a rethink, saying it should be his decision and not the state Congress's.

At a meeting with Mr Gandhi days before, the Delhi Congress, led by Ms Dikshit, had unanimously refused an alliance with the party of Mr Kejrwal, who had ended the 15-year Congress rule in the state. The rivalry of the two parties, which started there, became deeply entrenched when a year later, Mr Kejriwal ended the 49-day government formed with Congress support.

The Congress has been under opposition pressure to enter a tie up with Mr Kejriwal's party. AAP has also been keen on a tie-up, saying it would stop the split of non-BJP votes that's expected if the two parties contest separately.Initially, the Congress had been cool to the idea, which AAP was upset about. But later, as the opposition started recalibrating its campaign after the Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent air strikes, Mr Gandhi held a meeting with leaders of the Delhi Congress to discuss the issue.

After the Congress refusal, Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted: "At a time when the whole country wants to defeat Modi-Shah duo, Cong is helping BJP by splitting anti-BJP vote. Rumours are that Congress has some secret understanding with BJP. Delhi is ready to fight against Cong-BJP alliance. People will defeat this unholy alliance".