AAP, Congress announce alliance in Delhi, four other states | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

AAP, Congress announce alliance in Delhi, four other states

Feb 24, 2024 02:37 PM IST

Pact first such alliance between the two and the second big agreement clinched in INDIA bloc after an arrangement between Congress and SP in UP and MP

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress on Saturday jointly announced their pact for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Announcing the seat-sharing plan, both parties agreed to jointly contest from Delhi, Haryana, Goa, Punjab and Gujarat.

Addressing a joint press conference here, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik announced that the AAP will contest four of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi (Twitter Photo)
Addressing a joint press conference here, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik announced that the AAP will contest four of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi (Twitter Photo)

Addressing a joint press conference here, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik announced that the AAP will contest four of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, two of the 26 seats in Gujarat, and one of the 10 seats in Haryana, while Congress will contest the rest of the seats in these states. Both the Lok Sabha seats of Goa and the one seat of Chandigarh will be contested by the Congress in alliance with the AAP, the Congress leader said.

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In Gujarat, the Congress will contest 24 Lok Sabha seats while the AAP will contest two – Bharuch and Bhavnagar – and in Haryana, the Congress will contest nine out of the 10 seats while AAP will contest the Kurukshetra Lok Sabha seat, Wasnik announced in a press conference at the Constitution Club of India, attended by senior AAP leaders Sandeep Pathak, Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj.

Also Read: AAP, Congress finalise 4:3 seat-sharing formula for Lok Sabha seats in Delhi

Wasnik said the AAP will contest New Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi, and East Delhi seats in Delhi while Congress will contest North East, North West, and Chandni Chowk constituencies.

The pact is the first such alliance between the two erstwhile rivals and the second big agreement clinched in the beleaguered Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) after an arrangement between the Congress and Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Both parties are constituents of the INDIA bloc, formed by opposition parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming general elections.

“Two days ago, the Congress finalised its alliance in UP with Samajwadi Party. In the last few days, long discussions were held with AAP, following which AAP-Congress has finalised seat-sharing. We are happy that two important partners of the INDIA alliance will fight the election together,” Wasnik said

“We will contest the election on different seats, and together we will try to win all the seats being contested under the alliance,” he added.

When asked about resentment from party leaders in some of the seats such as Bharuch, Wasnik said all factors have been taken into consideration and finally a decision has been taken. “We firmly believe that the decision will be respected by all the workers of the Congress and AAP,” Wasnik said.

The AAP has already announced candidates for the Bharuch and the Bhavnagar Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat.

AAP MP Sandeep Pathak said the party joined the alliance and decided to contest together because, for the AAP, the country is more important.

“Today, the country is going through a tough time. The BJP is crushing all institutions one by one, and the way electoral malpractices are being done, opposition leaders are being put in jail, farmers are suffering, and people are facing inflation and unemployment, we have joined the alliance keeping the interests of the country before the interests of the party,” Pathak said.

Pathak said that the alliance would disturb the political equations of the BJP.

Also Read: AAP continues protest over one-time settlement scheme in Delhi

In reply to a question, the AAP leader said the details of the campaigning (whether there will be any joint campaigning by the two parties) will be worked out. “All our cadre came to politics for the country. They understand the current prevailing political situation,” Pathak said when asked whether the alliance will create resentment among AAP workers.

It is the first time that the Congress and AAP have come together to contest the Lok Sabha seats together in Delhi.

In 2019, the Congress came second in five seats — East Delhi, West Delhi, New Delhi, North East Delhi and Chandani Chowk — and the AAP came second in two seats — North West Delhi and South Delhi. A similar formula was proposed by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in 2019, but talks collapsed.

The sealing of the pact caps weeks of tense negotiations between the erstwhile rivals. The AAP first came to power in Delhi riding an anti-Congress wave in 2013 with Arvind Kejriwal defeating then-CM Shiela Dikshit in her constituency of New Delhi.

Both sides formally discussed seat sharing for the first time on January 8. In that meeting, the AAP offered three seats to the Congress and demanded seats in Gujarat, Goa and Haryana. The Congress’s national alliance committee led by Mukul Wasnik told the AAP representatives that the alliance panel’s mandate was to discuss only Delhi seats.

Eleven days later, Kejriwal met Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi at Kharge’s residence to give fresh momentum to seat talks. The AAP later ruled out alliance in Punjab and threatened to fight alone in Delhi.

AAP has 62 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi assembly.

Delhi BJP leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the AAP and Congress didn’t trust each other but were trying to ally due to fear of losing the elections. “There is a serious trust crisis between the Congress and AAP, but despite that they are going to form an alliance is nothing but politics of opportunism,” he said.

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    Alok K N Mishra is a journalist with the Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He writes on governance, policy and politics. He is an ardent follower of politics and is fascinated about making politics work better for the middle-class and the poor. He loves to discuss and predict the national political behaviour. Before shifting to Delhi, he covered political instability, governance, and misgovernance besides Maoists insurgency in Jharkhand for almost half a decade. He started out in 2010 as a city reporter with Times of India, Patna.

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