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

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 possibly Haryana ahead of the Lok Sabha election, sources told NDTV this afternoon, in signs the INDIA bloc – formed last year to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party – may finally be getting its act together.

Confirmation is expected this evening. Congress sources have said some details still need to be worked out, but the party realises alliances are crucial if the BJP is to be stopped from a third term.  

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

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

Now deals for three other states and Chandigarh – all ruled by the BJP – have reportedly been done.

AAP-Congress Seat-Share Deal In Gujarat

In Gujarat – Prime Minister 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 candidates in the last Lok Sabha election but its 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; 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 26.

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 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 is expected to fight one seat. There are, though, some questions marks here.

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.

No Deal In Punjab

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 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 here 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 INDIA’s first major 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, 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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