In a major development showing a shift in its stance, AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today openly supported Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after he was sentenced to two years in jail in a defamation case and alleged a conspiracy was being hatched to “eliminate” non-BJP leaders and parties by prosecuting them.

After AAP overthrow congress government in Delhi the Congress and the AAP have in the past avoided taking each other’s side on various issues.

The grand old party did not support AAP when Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia was arrested by the CBI in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy for 2021-22.

AAP’s support for Rahul Gandhi has come at a time when Mr Kejriwal is learnt to be attempting to forge an alliance of “like-minded” parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year. 

Earlier this month, he had invited chief ministers of eight non-BJP, non-Congress ruled states for dinner and discussion over political issues.

On Thursday, the Aam Aadmi Party indicated a softening in its stance for Congress after a court in Gujarat’s Surat held Rahul Gandhi guilty of defamation for his 2019 “Modi surname” remark.

“A conspiracy is being hatched to eliminate non-BJP leaders and parties by prosecuting them. We have differences with the Congress, but it is not right to implicate Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case like this.

“It is the job of the public and the opposition to ask questions. We respect the court but disagree with the decision,” Mr Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said opposition forms the core of democracy and dissent should not be stifled.

“Respectfully disagree with the court verdict against Rahul Gandhi. Opposition forms the core of democracy. Dissent should not be stifled. India has a strong tradition of critique. Attempt to reduce this to the viewpoint of one ideology, one party, one leader is unconstitutional and undemocratic,” he tweeted.

BJP top management taken by surprise of this development and a leader who wish anonymity quoted joining of opposition parties is not a good sign for BJP in the ensuing 2024 election