Ajay Maken, the leader of the Congress, has emerged as the voices and faces of the distrust his party continues to nurse against Arvind Kejriwal as he rallies support from opposition leaders against the Centre’s ordinance that took control of “services” away from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the Capital. Speaking to NDTV on Monday, the senior Congress leader said that partnering with Arvind Kejriwal’s party would be as good as committing suicide.
The senior Congress leader continued to poke fun at Arvind Kejriwal, saying that if Congress teamed up with the Aam Aadmi Party, it would be like committing suicide, and if someone commits suicide, how can they run the “Mohabbat Ki Dukan?” he questioned.
Maken further alleged that the Delhi CM Kejriwal is seeking Congress’ help for the ordinance yet unabashedly ridiculing its leaders, including Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan.
Maken was taking a jibe at AAP leader and Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, who had earlier referred to Rahul Gandhi’s “Mohabbat Ki Dukhan” (shop of love) remark and urged him to comply with his promises. Saurabh Bharadwaj, the leader of AAP, made his statement after Congress showed hesitation in allying with AAP to challenge the Centre over the Delhi ordinance.
“Rahul says he is running ‘Mohabbat Ki Dukhan’ in the market of hatred. He claims that the BJP is spreading hatred. So, if Rahul Gandhi is running a ‘Mohabbat Ki Dukan,’ anyone who comes to him should be able to buy that love. The shopkeeper cannot decide whom to sell love to and whom not to. So, any customer who comes can buy ‘Mohabbat.’ If he said that his party spreads love, he has to demonstrate that as well,” said Bharadwaj.”
Congress and AAP continue to trade barbs over Delhi ordinance
Congress and AAP have remained at loggerheads over the Delhi ordinance issue. The war of words between the two, however, intensified after prominent opposition leaders met in Bihar on June 23 to hold talks for a united front against PM Narendra Modi and BJP in the 2024 election.
Media reports suggest that during the opposition meeting in Patna on Friday, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal had raised the issue of the Centre’s ordinance over control of administrative services in Delhi. While most other opposition parties have backed AAP in this matter, the Congress party has refused to do so.
Subsequently, the AAP leaders did not stay for the joint statement and instead returned to Delhi after lunch.
After the Patna meet, AAP issued a statement from Delhi saying that any alliance with the Congress party would be difficult if the Congress refused to back AAP on the Delhi Ordinance issue.
“Until the Congress publicly denounces the Black Ordinance and declares that all 31 of its RS MPs will oppose the ordinance in the Rajya Sabha, it will be difficult for AAP to participate in future meetings of like-minded parties where the Congress is a participant”, the AAP statement added.
Adding salt to the injuries, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made it clear that it is in no mood to accept Congress scion Rahul Gandhi as the leading face of the so-called “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) of the opposition parties. AAP’s national spokesperson Priyanka Kakkar in a tweet advised the Congress party to not place a bet on Rahul Gandhi for the third time. She added that Congress should refrain from pressuring the opposition parties to accept him as their leader.
Soon after the scathing attack by AAP, former AICC general secretary Ajay Maken criticized the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, accusing the Delhi CM of seeking help from the Congress party while simultaneously ridiculing its leaders.
In a video message posted on his social media handle Twitter, he said, “His ministers place prerequisites on our alliance, while their chief spokesperson publicly disparages our party and leaders on the day of the Opposition party meeting. To brazenly criticise and then demand support, is this how alliances are sought, Mr Kejriwal?”
The leader further claimed, “Kejriwal’s political manoeuvres in recent weeks have left many baffled. However, let me elucidate the truth. His desperate attempts to evade imprisonment on corruption charges, wherein two of his colleagues are already jailed, are reasons for these actions.”
Kejriwal’s proclamations of Opposition unity are not for cohesion but a “calculated move to sabotage it and curry favour with the BJP. Past actions of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Parliament, the Delhi Legislative Assembly, or elsewhere only reinforce their surreptitious alliance with the BJP”, he said.
He also alleged that AAP was using corruption money to fight elections in several states to ‘help the BJP’ and harm Congress.
“Kejriwal’s betrayals are infamous – just ask Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, and the founders of the Anna movement…,’” Maken said in a scathing attack on the Delhi CM.
“However, be assured Kejriwal, your deeds have not gone unnoticed. Your massive corruption and utilisation of these ill-gotten funds to sabotage the Congress in Goa, Gujarat, Punjab, Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Assam, just to help the BJP, won’t be forgotten,” the Congress leader said.
He further alleged that “Under the guise of being an ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), Kejriwal “manipulated” Delhi’s citizens, using ₹171 crore of public money to build a “palace” for himself,”
“Your actions have unmasked the grim truth, Mr Kejriwal. You’re no longer a champion of the ‘Aam Aadmi’ or a crusader against corruption. Instead, you stand knee-deep in corruption, living a lavish lifestyle like a king in your ‘Sheesh Mahal’,” the former Union minister said.
Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance 2023
On May 19, 2023, the Government of National Capital Territory (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 was enacted. It modifies the Delhi National Capital Territory Act of 1991. The Act establishes the framework for the Legislative Assembly and the administration of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.