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

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

New Delhi:

The Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress have reached a broad agreement to share seats in Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, Chandigarh, and Haryana ahead of the Lok Sabha election, sources told NDTV this afternoon, in signs the struggling INDIA bloc – formed last year to defeat the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – may finally be getting its act together.

Confirmation of the deal – hashed out at Congress leader KC Venugopal’s residence – is expected at 4 pm. The party has, however, indicated there are still some details that need to be worked out.

Earlier today sources said an agreement for Delhi – where the AAP is in power – was nearing completion, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s party to contest four seats and the Congress to name candidates for three.

READ | In Big News For INDIA, AAP-Congress Finalise Delhi Deal: Sources

Sources have now said deals for three other states – ruled by the BJP – and Chandigarh – have been done.

AAP-Congress Seat-Share Deal In Gujarat

In Gujarat – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state – the AAP will contest two seats – Bharuch and Bhavnagar, which are held by the BJP’s Mansukhbhai Vasava and Bharti Shiyal. The party has already named its candidates for these seats – Chaitar Vaisava and Umesh Bhai Makwana, respectively.

The AAP did not field any candidates in the last Lok Sabha election but its presence has improved since, with strong results in the 2022 Surat civic polls and an impressive five-seat haul in the Assembly election.

The Congress, by comparison, performed dismally in both polls; the party dropped 60 Assembly seats between 2017 and 2022, and has failed to win a Lok Sabha seat since 2009, when it claimed 11 of the 26 available.

The BJP swept the state in the 2014 and 2019 general elections.

AAP-Congress Deal In Chandigarh

In return, the Congress will fight Chandigarh’s sole Lok Sabha seat, which is also currently 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.

AAP-Congress Seat-Share Deal In Haryana

In Haryana, the AAP will fight one seat.

Like Gujarat, the BJP dominated this state in the last general election, winning all 10 seats with nearly 60 per cent of the votes. The Congress fielded candidates in all 10 but flopped, 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 Assembly election 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 declared its candidate – Venzy Viegas – from the South Goa seat but will now withdraw the Benaulim MLA and hand the seat to the Congress, for whom Francisco Sardinha won in the last election.

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

No Deal In Punjab

Accords in these states has not, for now, changed the equation in Punjab, where the AAP is set to contest all 13 seats. That was confirmed by Mr Kejriwal last week, who took a swipe at the Congress as he did so.

READ | In Kejriwal’s Punjab Announcement, Setback To INDIA Bloc Unity

In the last Lok Sabha election the Congress won eight seats and the AAP just one. Since then, though, fortunes have been completely reversed, with the AAP dominating the 2022 Assembly election; it won 92 of 117 seats.

Deal Done In UP

On Wednesday the Congress struck a deal with the Samajwadi Party for 17 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats. That was the INDIA bloc’s first major seat-share deal, and came 24 hours after the AAP-Congress recorded INDIA’s first electoral win – the Chandigarh mayoral election, which was settled by the Supreme Court.

READ | INDIA Bloc’s UP Seat Sharing Pact Finalised, Congress Gets 17

An agreement with the Samajwadi Party also seemed unlikely, as recently as 48 hours ago. That, however, was turned around after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stepped in; sources told NDTV she reached out personally to SP boss Akhilesh Yadav to work out the minutiae of a deal.

INDIA Waking Up?

Set up in June, to unite the opposition and defeat the BJP – 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.

READ | AAP Wins Chandigarh Mayor Poll, Top Court Cancels Earlier Result

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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