INDIA bloc as a talking shop - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

INDIA bloc as a talking shop

ByHT Editorial
Feb 19, 2024 09:18 PM IST

AAP hints at seat-sharing with Congress in Delhi — but the Opposition grouping needs more than talk to recover lost ground

Just as everyone thought that the AAP had broken ranks with the Opposition INDIA bloc to contest Parliament seats on its own in Punjab and Delhi, party supremo Arvind Kejriwal has clarified that his party and the Congress “mutually agreed” to contest separately in all 13 seats in Punjab but talks are on for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the national capital. Though the deal is far from done, the arrangement will be a true reflection of the ground strength of both parties, he suggested. In Punjab, the AAP and Congress are direct competitors, while the BJP is a marginal force. Whereas in Delhi, the BJP is the main pole in a national election. According to Kejriwal, “The BJP will have it easy if there is no alliance (between the AAP and the Congress)”. It now remains to be seen if both parties arrive at a deal in Gujarat and Goa, where the AAP hopes to make its presence felt, or follow the Punjab model and fight it out — the AAP reportedly wants eight of Gujarat’s 26 Lok Sabha seats and one of the two constituencies in Goa, two states where the contest has mostly been bipolar, involving the BJP and the Congress, for decades.

Delhi chief miniser Arvind Kejriwal with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi and former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. (HT photo) PREMIUM
Delhi chief miniser Arvind Kejriwal with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi and former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda. (HT photo)

Delhi is a curious case, of course. The AAP, while dominating state politics since 2015, has been unable to translate its grassroots heft into electoral appeal in national elections. Since 2014, the BJP has won all seven seats in Delhi with over 50% of the vote share. The AAP, however, finished behind the Congress in overall vote share in 2019 and was placed third behind the BJP and Congress in five seats, despite winning 67 of the 70 assembly seats in 2015. And, a year after the 2019 drubbing, the AAP retained office in Delhi with an impressive tally of 62 seats. This could well suggest a rare clarity on the part of the electorate — that they prefer the BJP for Parliament and the AAP for the state legislature!

That said, Kejriwal’s words may seem reassuring to the INDIA bloc that seems to be fast unravelling with the Congress — the leader of the pack — even losing former chief ministers to the BJP. Having already lost the war of optics to the BJP, which is currently consolidating its forces as was evident at the recent national executive meeting, the Opposition will need more than just the promise of seat talks to enthuse its supporters and make a contest of the upcoming general elections.

Unlock a world of Benefits with HT! From insightful newsletters to real-time news alerts and a personalized news feed – it's all here, just a click away! -Login Now!

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On