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Is Congress balancing its ties with AAP after HC shock to Kejriwal?

New Delhi/Chandigarh, April 10 (IANS) Is the Congress now walking a tightrope in its ties with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after the Delhi High Court quashed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the excise policy case? In a setback for the Delhi Chief Minister, the court observed on Tuesday that the AAP leader “conspired with others” and was “actively involved in using the proceeds of crime”, as per the materials shared by the ED.

Even as the high court shocker gave the BJP fresh ammo against Kejriwal, who is now under more pressure to step down as the Chief Minister, the Congress is in a bind over how to explain its position vis-a-vis its relations with the AAP. Delhi Congress sources said the party leaders here are feeling discomfort over its alliance with AAP following the developments related to the alleged liquor policy scam.

While both the parties did not stitch an alliance for the Lok Sabha polls for the 13 seats in Punjab, they have done so in Delhi. The Congress’ ‘failure’ to name three candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi to date has also triggered speculation. With such state-wise poll pact in place, while the Delhi unit of the Congress is maintaining a stoic silence, the Punjab leaders are mincing no words in slamming Kejriwal and AAP over the ED custody and the developments that followed.

Senior Congress leader in Punjab, Pratap Singh Bajwa, has launched a scathing criticism of the AAP and its government in the state, which speaks volumes about the “unease” that exists in the ties between the two allies of the INDIA bloc. Bajwa, who is also the leader of opposition in the Punjab Assembly, came down heavily on the AAP government’s failure to end corruption in Punjab.

“The AAP had vowed to end corruption in the state. The party also said it would adopt a zero-tolerance policy against corruption. Now, the government owes an explanation to the people of Punjab as to why it has failed to end corruption in the state. The AAP government should also tell why it failed to end the VIP culture,” Bajwa said. Political observers feel that Bajwa’s outbursts against the Bhagwant Mann-led government reflect Punjab Congress’ discomfort and dilemma over playing the role of opposition in the state, with the party leadership having an alliance with AAP in Delhi.

Meanwhile, highlighting the AAP government’s alleged failures on various fronts, Bajwa said AAP’s promises and commitments to end the drug menace in the state have proven hollow. “Deaths caused by drug overdose have become a new normal during the two-year rule of the AAP. Similarly, the law and order situation has deteriorated as the AAP government has done nothing to curb the growing crime rate in the state,” he added.


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