Sun. May 26th, 2024

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Mr Bharadwaj also had cautionary advice for the grand old party on public perception. (file)

New Delhi:

The Aam Aadmi Party, after heated exchanges with the Congress at the recent Opposition meeting in Patna, has appealed to Rahul Gandhi to show a big heart.

Referring to former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s ‘mohabbat ki dukaan‘, senior AAP leader and Delhi’s Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said he likes the ‘dialogue’ which Mr Gandhi often repeats, “main nafrat ke bazaar me mohabbat ki dukaan khol kar baitha hoon (I have opened a shop of love in the market of hatred)”.

“Sir, we believe there is a nafrat ka bazaar (market of hatred), but you should also give love there. If Opposition parties have come to you asking for love, and you say you don’t have it, then it raises questions on your mohabbat ki dukaan,” he said.

Mr Bharadwaj also had cautionary advice for the grand old party on public perception. He said being egoistic is fine, but there’s a threshold beyond which people and other parties will start feeling that the new government after regime change is high on ego.

He also appealed to Opposition parties to move over past comments against each other, as they have been rivals in states, but now need to come together.

“A lot of parties contest elections against each other in different states. Samajwadi Party and Congress contest against each other in Uttar Pradesh. Trinamool Congress, Congress, and the Left fight each other in West Bengal. Left and Congress are rivals in Kerala. In spite of all these contradictions, we have to come together now,” he said, adding that such contradictions will cause bitterness as parties have been contesting against each other for long, and may do it again in states.

“However, if you go into what party spokespeople said against each other, then the list is long, from both sides. One has to leave that behind and move ahead,” Mr Bharadwaj said.

It’s a painful job — to leave seats for others, even your competitors — the AAP leader said, adding that it requires a big heart.

Rahul Gandhi in the Patna meeting said his party had an open mind about the alliance and was ready to forget the past. “We are here with an open mind…. without any past likes and dislikes. All of us will be flexible. We will need to be together in this fight, whatever it takes,” he said.

Congress hit back, accusing AAP of being deceitful and trying to break Opposition unity. Senior leader Ajay Maken in a video alleged that Arvind Kejriwal is “with the BJP” because he doesn’t want to go to jail

“On one side, AAP is seeking Congress’ support; on the other, they are speaking against the party. What do they want, do they want our support or distance themselves from our party…It’s very clear that Arvind Kejriwal does not want to go to jail, so he is with BJP and their (AAP) only motive is to break the opposition’s unity,” he said.

AAP had gone into the big Opposition meeting hosted by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with a pre-condition for a grand alliance — that the Congress back it in its fight against the Centre’s controversial Ordinance aimed at clipping the Delhi government’s hold over its own bureaucracy.

Congress has repeatedly stressed the Patna meeting wasn’t the appropriate forum for that issue, and they’d discuss it in Opposition meetings ahead of the Parliament sessions.

“During Parliament session, Opposition parties regularly meet and chalk out a joint strategy. AAP has attended those meetings. Why should there be a different mechanism for this Ordinance? This cannot be a pre-condition for the alliance to fight BJP,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had said, questioning an AAP spokesperson’s controversial statement just minutes before the meeting.

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