By Nivedita SinghNew Delhi, April 28 : The Congress is weakening the Opposition across the country, senior leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said against the backdrop of a failed attempt at stitching an pre-poll alliance between the two parties.Sisodia said the Congress should be blamed if the BJP wins in Delhi and across the country and returns to the power after the ongoing Lok Sabha polls."Not only in Delhi but across the country, the Congress is weakening the Opposition. If the BJP wins any seat in Delhi or outside it, the Congress should be blamed," he told IANS when asked if the AAP feels the failed alliance talks with the Congress could help the BJP in winning seats in the capital.He said the AAP was ready for an alliance with the Congress in Delhi because it had in mind other states where seat-sharing was important to avoid division of votes."Delhi was never the centre of our talks... We can and will win all the seven seats here.. We were ready for the alliance thinking about the other states. Congress is not going to win any of the seven seats here," the AAP leader insisted.The talks for an alliance between the two parties were on since February and ended last week with Congress naming all the seven candidates for Delhi.While the Congress was only talking about seat sharing in Delhi, the AAP was asking for the same on 33 seats in Haryana, Punjab, Goa, Chandigarh and Delhi.Later, the AAP was even ready for talks on 18 seats spread over Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, but the Congress did not agree for that as well and maintained that seat-sharing could take place only in Delhi.Sisodia expressed confidence that the AAP candidates would win all the seven seats here and that the party does not consider the Congress as a competition.Polling in Delhi will take place on May 12. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had bagged all the seven seats here.
Asked why it is important for his party to win the seats here, he said the MPs of his party would work to secure full statehood for the city, which the other two parties -- BJP and Congress-- did not.Sisodia, who also holds the Education portfolio, said while working for the city, the AAP government could not get the support of the MPs and so the decision-making was slow."We have done a lot of work in the field of education but because we lacked power, we could not do so much. The teachers' appointment is not in our hands. If it were, we could have hired more teachers and regularised the ones on contract. Similarly, the officials are not under our control," he said.The AAP leader, whose party had won 67 of the total 70 Delhi Assembly seats last time, said full statehood for Delhi is important to speed up the works done by the city government.Listing out the achievements, he said his government, "despite all the hurdles" created by the central government, built 8,213 new classrooms since it came to power in 2015."There were 24,157 classrooms in the Delhi government schools in 2015. By November, another 12,748 new classrooms will be completed, apart from 8,213 build since 2015," the minister said.He said the government wanted to build more schools, college and hospitals for the city "but the land has always been an issue."In the manifesto, he said, the party has promised full statehood to Delhi.With full statehood, the party promised to build new schools, colleges and other educational institutions."After full statehood and more powers, we will expanded 'Right to School Education' programme and ensure that every child in Delhi is entitled to free, world class education from Nursery to Class 12.He also said the students of Delhi schools securing more than 60 per cent marks in Class 12, will get admission in a college as a regular student.The party has promised 85 per cent reservation in college admission and jobs in the city for the residents of Delhi.The national capital will see a triangular contest between Delhi's ruling AAP, BJP and the Congress.(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)