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Congress On Seat Share Speed Run, Deal Done With AAP For Delhi, Gujarat


Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (File).

New Delhi:

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party – who this week delivered the INDIA bloc’s first electoral win, in the Chandigarh mayoral poll – have finalised seat-share deals for Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, and Haryana, sources told NDTV Friday afternoon.

The details will be revealed at a press conference later today, but the INDIA bloc members are understood to have agreed a four-three split of Delhi’s seven seats.

Sources have said the AAP will field candidates from East, West and South Delhi, in addition to New Delhi, while Congress will contest from North West and North East Delhi, and Chandi Chowk.

In the 2019 election the BJP won all seven seats.

Hours later NDTV was told a deal had also been struck for Goa, Chandigarh, Gujarat, and Haryana, with reports indicating two seats in Gujarat, and one each in Haryana and Chandigarh, are part of the deal.

READ | After Delhi, AAP-Congress Seal Seat Deal For Goa, Haryana, Gujarat: Sources

The last-known position in each of these states was that in Gujarat – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state – the AAP will contest two seats, the sole Lok Sabha seat in Chandigarh will go to the Congress, as will the South Goa seat, while the AAP will get at least one seat in Haryana.

Of these, the BJP swept Gujarat and Haryana in the last election, winning all 26 in the former and all 10 in the latter. In Goa, which has only two Lok Sabha seats, the BJP picked up North Goa and finished less than 10,000 votes behind the Congress’ Francisco Sardinha in South Goa.

Mr Modi’s party also won the Chandigarh seat; the Congress held this for three terms previously, with Pawan Kumar Bansal winning in 1999, 2004, and 2009. There was talk the AAP would insist on this seat.

The Congress-led INDIA has been busy this week – with just days for Lok Sabha election dates to be announced – wrapping up deals in Uttar Pradesh, closing in on an agreement in Maharashtra, and hoping for a revival of fortunes in Bengal.

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These accords have not, for now, changed the equation in Punjab, where the AAP is set to contest all 13 seats. That was confirmed by party boss and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal last week, who took a swipe at the Congress as he did so.

The UP deal – under which the Congress will contest 17 of the state’s 80 seats and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (and regional allies) the other 63 – was INDIA’s first major seat-share contract, and came after Mr Yadav’s ‘ultimatum’ about his participation in the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’.

READ | INDIA Bloc’s UP Seat Sharing Pact Finalised, Congress To Fight On 17 Seats

Set up in June to defeat Mr Modi and the BJP, the INDIA bloc has already lost Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) – a founding member – and Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtra Lok Dal, which has influence among the Jat community in western UP. Both the JDU and the RLD have aligned with the BJP

Aware that further losses, or delays in sealing seat-share deals, will make it even harder to fight the BJP’s formidable election-winning machinery, the Congress has stepped up its negotiating efforts this week, with senior leaders – Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and Sonia Gandhi – all playing key roles.

READ | To Solve UP Seat-Sharing Deadlock, Sonia, Priyanka Gandhi Stepped In

Mr Gandhi has spoken to Shiv Sena (UBT) boss Uddhav Thackeray to complete talks in Maharashtra and Ms Gandhi Vadra ensured the deal with Akhilesh Yadav was struck. Sonia Gandhi may be called on to help settle a deal with Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, with whom she has a good relationship.

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