Lok Sabha elections 2019: AAP, Congress close in on quid pro quo seat-sharing deal in Delhi, Haryana
Senior leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress on Friday said that the parties are in talks for an alliance in Delhi and Haryana.
Elaborating on the negotiations, leaders said the number of seats AAP offers to the Congress in Delhi would be equivalent to the number of seats the latter offers AAP in Haryana.
Senior leaders of the two parties said that the bargain is being currently worked out by the two sides.
“The AAP wanted an alliance in Haryana and Punjab as well. The talks are that the AAP will agree to give the Congress the same number of seats in Delhi that we (Congress) give the AAP in Haryana. There is no clarity about Punjab,” a senior Congress leader said.
AAP had initially wanted an alliance with the Congress in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, but Congress did not agree to an arrangement other than in the national Capital.
At present, as an “exchange deal”, Congress has offered a partnership in Haryana for increasing their seat share in Delhi, party leaders said.
Senior leaders of the AAP also confirmed that the party is in talks with the Congress for an alliance in Delhi and Haryana.
Haryana has 10 Lok Sabha seats against seven in Delhi. In 2014 general elections, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP won seven seats in Haryana, followed by two seats to the Indian National Lok Dal, an erstwhile member of the NDA coalition and one to the Congress.
In Delhi, the BJP won all seven seats in 2014.
AAP leaders also said that an alliance in Punjab, where the AAP has fielded eight candidates so far, is not on the table because an “internal survey” conducted by the party has shown that the BJP is in a weak position in the state.
Congress leaders said that Delhi Congress in-charge PC Chacko and AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh are in talks to come to a consensus on seat sharing in Delhi and Haryana. “Once an agreeable deal is sealed, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will take the final decision,” a party leader said.
While the AAP is pressing for a 5:2 (five for AAP and two for Congress), the Congress has demanded “nothing less than” three seats in Delhi.
On Friday, AAP’s Delhi convener Gopal Rai said, “An alliance would be possible only if the Congress includes the demand for Delhi’s full statehood in its manifesto. If Congress can promise that in Puducherry, it can be done in Delhi too.”
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said on Thursday that “what can be done in Puducherry easily cannot be done in Delhi. Delhi is the capital city.”
On April 2, the Congress had released its manifesto, in which the party had mentioned about full statehood for Puducherry but not Delhi.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Delhi convener Gopal Rai on Friday said that the party is most likely to release its election manifesto on April 25.
A seven-member team of the party is working on the manifesto and Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia will give the final approval, he said. The research on the manifesto is being headed by Manoj Singh, a professor at the University of Delhi, said Rai.
“By April 25, the time to file nominations will close. We will release our manifesto,” Rai said.
Rai further said that the theme of the manifesto will be full statehood for Delhi and would mention promises that include 85% reservation for Delhi voters in government jobs and colleges, thereby, opening up the vacancy of 0.2 million government jobs immediately after the elections. The AAP also promised housing for all voters in the city within 10 years if the party comes to power.