Seat sharing talks between AAP, Congress much delayed: Kejriwal

  • | Thursday | 22nd February, 2024

The talks between the AAP and the Congress over seat sharing in Delhi for Lok Sabha polls were "much delayed", Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday, amid claims by sources in both sides that the chances of an alliance have hit a roadblock.  On Tuesday, Kejriwal had said that talks for seat sharing in the national capital were in "final stages" and a tie up between the two parties would be announced soon.  There are seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi currently held by the BJP. Sources in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) indicated that if the alliance did not happen with the Congress, the party could declare its candidates in the next few days.  When asked by reporters on the possibility of alliance with the Congress in Delhi, Kejriwal said, "It is much delayed, it should have happened much earlier. Let us see what happens in the next one-two days."  Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely said that the party is prepared for elections on all the seven constituencies in Delhi. "The committee headed by Mukul Vasnik is continuously talking to the members of the INDIA bloc. It would not be appropriate for me to comment about that," he told reporters.  Sources said despite several rounds of talks between the leaders of two parties, an agreement over number of seats to be contested by them was yet to be agreed upon.  Congress sources claimed that the party wanted to contest four of the seven Lok Sabha seats and leave the rest for the AAP.  "This is justified as in the 2019 polls, the Congress candidates were runner-ups on six of the seven seats in Delhi while AAP candidates were on third place except for South Delhi constituency," said a senior Delhi Congress leader.  Although AAP leaders remained tight-lipped on seat sharing, sources in the party said, "The Aam Aadmi Party wants to contest four seats -- North East Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi and North West Delhi."  The AAP earlier said it was holding talks with the INDIA bloc partners for a pact in Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi, and Goa. The party has already decided to go solo in Punjab. AAP national general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak recently said that the party has demanded eight out of 26 Lok Sabha seats from the Congress in Gujarat. He said that the AAP won five seats by polling a total 13 per cent votes in the last Assembly polls in Gujarat and claimed eight Lok Sabha seats in the state for the upcoming polls, while offering remaining 18 to the Congress. He had also offered one Lok Sabha seat in Delhi to the Congress saying it did not deserve even that based on its previous election track record. The Congress currently does not have any Lok Sabha MP or MLA from Delhi. The AAP has so far unilaterally declared its candidates in two seats each in Gujarat and Assam and one in Goa. Pathak had said that if a decision was not soon taken on seat-sharing in Delhi, his party would declare its candidates. The BJP won all the seven seats in Delhi back to back in 2014 and 2019 elections. Interestingly, the BJP candidates in 2019 polled more votes than the combined tally of Congress and AAP candidates.

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