The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) believes that the BJP is consciously trying to position the 2019 Lok Sabha election as a Rahul Gandhi-versus-Narendra Modi affair for its own convenience.
AAP leader and chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said the projection of Rahul Gandhi will only harm the opposition. "Projecting Rahul as PM candidate is a conscious effort of the BJP to position this contest as Rahul-versus-Modi as it suits them," Bhardwaj told IANS.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said, was choosing its opponent according to its convenience.
"If they choose Mayawati or Mamata, there is a problem. Rahul has never been a minister or a Chief Minister," said the MLA from Greater Kailash constituency who is a known confidant of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP was creating a perception in which Modi will be seen as a stronger candidate in the battle for prime ministership when his opponent is Rahul Gandhi. "The perception created about Rahul is to ensure that if there is a contest between Rahul and Modi, Modi will be a stronger candidate," he said.
But the projection of Rahul Gandhi suits the Congress, he added. "The Congress is also liking this positioning as it suits them. Their leader is getting the limelight. However, this positioning will not suit the opposition's fight against Modi and the BJP. Projecting Rahul as PM will be a loss for the opposition," he warned.
He added that for the last three months, BJP leaders, including Modi, were attacking Rahul Gandhi. "Attacking Rahul by taking his name is BJP's poll strategy."
Talking about the contest in the national capital, where the AAP is in power, Bhardwaj said the Lok Sabha battle would be between the BJP and AAP. "The fight in Delhi is between AAP and BJP. Congress will not get a single seat. Their vote percentage may go up, but they will not win seats."
Bhardwaj also said that the AAP was not part of any opposition alliance. "The party has no plans of giving support to anyone in 2019. Also, there is no plan for any kind of alliance or understanding with the Congress. This is very clear," he added.
Speaking about AAP's preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, he said the party had appointed "prabharis" (in-charge) for five of Delhi's seven Lok Sabha constituencies in June. "The remaining two will be appointed very soon. Within a week hopefully. It is very likely that they will also be the candidates."
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP bagged all the seven seats in Delhi. The AAP came stood second in all constituencies and the Congress finished third in six and in the fourth spot in one constituency.
The AAP swept the later, February 2015, Assembly elections, winning 67 of the 70 seats. The BJP won three seats and the Congress none.