Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal had invited the chief ministers of seven states ruled by non-BJP parties other than the Congress for a dinner on March 18 in a bid to forge an alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, but none of them turned up, sources said on Monday.
The development is seen as a setback to the AAP's ambition to emerge as an anchor to an alliance of non-BJP and non-Congress parties in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The planned dinner of the eight leaders, including Kejriwal, which he described as the "Progressive Chief Ministers' Group of India or G-8", was supposed to be followed by a press conference the next day, according to the letter written by the AAP supremo earlier this month.
The letter was sent to chief ministers of West Bengal, Bihar, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Punjab. The dinner was supposed to be held at Kapurthala House in the national capital.
There was no immediate response from the Aam Aadmi Party over the matter.
"It is delightful that 'The Progressive Chief Ministers' Group of India or G-8' will convene for its inaugural meeting and launch in Delhi. It would be great to usher in a new era of inter-state cooperation.
"Let us gather for a dinner meeting in Delhi on the evening of 18th March 2023. This will be our first meeting and it will give us an opportunity to discuss the way forward for the group," the letter from Kejriwal stated.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader suggested that the proposed G-8 grouping can hold a joint press conference and introduce itself to the people of India.
"As has been indicated by many chief ministers, weekend dates would help us avoid inconvenience and overlap with budget sessions," Kejriwal said.
He ended the letter by saying, "Let us come together to mark a new beginning for our states and our country."
Sources in the office of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the letter was sent on February 5.
According to the sources, she toyed with the idea and dropped it at the last moment. Last week Banerjee's Trinamool Congress announced that it would fight the Lok Sabha polls sans the Congress or the BJP after she met Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.
Her party's spokesperson, while dismissing talks of a third front, held out the possibility of regional players, including former NDA allies, coming together ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The JD(U), which is ruling in Bihar in alliance with the RJD, has been shy in being seen on the same page with AAP even though Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had met Arvind Kejriwal during his Delhi trip immediately after joining the Mahagathbandhan.
A case in point is the JD(U) not signing a recent letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting the CBI action against Manish Sisodia. The JD(U) then appeared to have toed the line taken by Congress, its ally in Bihar.
Kerala CMO and the DMK, which is ruling Tamil Nadu, refused to comment on the matter.