Breakthrough for INDIA bloc: AAP, Cong seal deal


Parties reached a four-three seat-sharing formula in Delhi while AAP is likely to contest two seats in Gujarat and one in Haryana…reports Asian Lite News

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have finalised their seat-sharing pact for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi after several rounds of deliberations. Leaders from both parties confirmed that they had settled for a four-three seat-sharing formula, with AAP contesting four seats and Congress three.

AAP has offered to fight on the South Delhi, New Delhi, West Delhi and Northwest Delhi seats, bringing East and Northeast Delhi and Chandni Chowk seats to its fold.

All seven seats in the national capital are currently held by BJP MLAs — each with over 50% of the vote share. In 2019, in the Chandni Chowk constituency, incumbent BJP MP Dr Harsh Vardhan had claimed almost 53% of the vote share, while Congress came in second with 30% votes. In Northeast Delhi, BJP’s Manoj Tiwari secured almost 54%, Congress’ Sheila Dikshit got almost 19%. In East Delhi, BJP’s Gautam Gambhir polled more than 55% votes, with Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely getting more than 24%.

“These are the three seats that AAP wants us to contest. Out of these, two share a border with Uttar Pradesh (East and North-east). When we analysed our performance in previous elections, including municipal polls, we found that our performance has suffered because of polarisation… The final announcement is expected on Friday, where the seat roster will also be revealed,”a senior Congress leader said.

While both parties were in favour of an alliance in Delhi, a decision on Gujarat, Goa and Haryana were the sticking points. A long wait in coming to a final decision — the last meeting between AAP and Congress leaders was held in January — was also playing on AAP’s mind, sources said.

While all issues related to seat-sharing in states have not been ironed out yet, AAP is likely to contest two seats in Gujarat and one in Haryana. In Gujarat, AAP has declared Botad MLA Umesh Makwana as its candidate for the Bhavnagar Lok Sabha seat, and Dediapada MLA Chaitar Vasava from Bharuch.

Sources said while Congress was willing to part with the Bhavnagar seat, the Bharuch seat is still under discussion.

AAP has also announced a candidate, Venzy Viegas, from the South Goa Lok Sabha seat. The party is likely going to give this to Congress as the party won the seat in 2019. Congress will contest from Chandigarh, while AAP will get one seat in Haryana, sources said.

Deal in Chandigarh

In return, the Congress will fight Chandigarh’s sole Lok Sabha seat, which is held by the BJP. Kirron Kher won in 2014 and 2019, but the Congress’ Pawan Kumar Bansal won it for three terms previously.

Sources had earlier said the AAP might insist on contesting this seat.

Meanwhile, In Haryana, the AAP is expected to fight one seat. There are, though, some questions marks here, with the Congress’ state leaders reluctant to surrender space to their ally.

Like Gujarat, the BJP dominated this state in the last general election, winning all 10 seats with nearly 60 per cent of votes. The Congress returned with less than 29 per cent of the votes.

And, like Gujarat, the AAP did not contest this election. It did not contest the last state poll either, which was in 2019, and saw the BJP score a comfortable win, claiming 40 of 90 seats. The Congress won 31.

AAP-Congress In Goa

The AAP had earlier said Venzy Viegas would fight from South Goa seat, will now withdraw the Benaulim MLA and hand the seat to the Congress, for whom Francisco Sardinha won in 2019.

It is unclear which of the two parties will contest the North Goa seat, which is held by the BJP.

INDIA waking pp

Set up in June, the bloc has already lost a key member – Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and, potentially Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtra Lok Dal.

Bengal’s ruling Trinamool has pulled back to the fringes of the bloc, snubbing seat-share talks after incessant attacks on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by the Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

The Chandigarh mayoral win is increasingly looking like the jumpstart INDIA needed to prove it can stay together and defeat Mr Modi and his BJP. The UP deal added to that feel-good wave, and the raft of AAP-Congress seat-sharing announcements is set to cap what has been a good week for INDIA.

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