Explainer: INDIA alliance jigsaw — some pieces fall into place, some on the way : The Tribune India

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Explainer: INDIA alliance jigsaw — some pieces fall into place, some on the way

However, suspense continues around TMC and Mamata Banerjee, and West Bengal, Assam and Maharashtra

Explainer: INDIA alliance jigsaw — some pieces fall into place, some on the way

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge (left) and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI file

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh February 24

There is some positive news from the beleaguered INDIA bloc after the dramatic exit of JD-U supremo and chief architect Nitish Kumar from the anti-BJP alliance. 

After a deal for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections amongst Congress, AAP and Samajwadi Party in states like Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Goa, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, there are reports suggesting that Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee may also be “open to the idea” of reigniting seat-sharing talks in West Bengal, Meghalaya and Assam. 

While in the deal with the Samajwadi Party, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi is said to have played a key role, sources say AAP supremo is convincing, or perhaps has convinced, Banerjee to re-open negotiations with Congress leaders. 

A couple of weeks back, an exasperated Banerjee had declared that TMC will contest the Lok Sabha polls alone in the state. 

But while senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh was quoted as saying that talks were on with Banerjee but seat share had not been finalised yet, as per agency reports senior TMC leader Derek O'Brien too reaffirmed his party’s decision to contest all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the wait is on.

The arrangements

Congress and the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party have struck a deal for 17:63 seat arrangement in UP and 28:1 in Madhya Pradesh.

Congress and AAP have also stitched an agreement for Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, Chandigarh, Goa and Gujarat.

Congress is contesting three of the seven seats in Delhi and AAP four. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, all the seven constituencies in Delhi had gone to BJP.

In Gujarat, AAP will contest from Bharuch and Bhavnagar and Congress from the remaining 24 seats in the state. In 2019, the BJP had won all the 26 constituencies in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.

In Haryana, AAP will contest from the Kurukshetra Lok Sabha constituency and the Congress rest of the nine seats. In 2019, the BJP won all the 10 seats in Haryana.

The Congress will contest both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa and the lone Chandigarh seat. However, AAP and Congress have decided to go separately in Punjab.

So far as West Bengal is concerned, TMC had offered two of the 42 Lok Sabha seats—a deal that was not acceptable to Congress which was demanding at least eight to 10 seats in the state.

In Meghalaya and Assam, the TMC was willing to concede one seat each to the Congress, according to reports. There are 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam and two in Meghalaya.

Maharashtra, J&K, Tamil Nadu

In Maharashtra, as per reports talks have been held for 39 of the 48 seats in the state but there are issues on the remaining seats. Apparently, Rahul Gandhi is in touch with Shiv Sena (UBT) boss Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar faction of the Nationalist Congress Party. 

Congress Maharashtra in-charge Ramesh Chennithala was quoted as saying that there was no rift and the seat-sharing talks between Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners were in the last stage and a final decision will be announced by month-end.

Talks are also on between Congress and other INDIA allies, including with the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu.

DMK is believed to be looking at adding a new ally — actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, who heads Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM). Apparently, Haasan has been given the offer of either contesting one Lok Sabha seat or opting for a Rajya Sabha berth after the elections in lieu of campaigning for the alliance.

The DMK-led ruling alliance in Tamil Nadu comprises Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Left parties.

Road ahead not so easy 

The biggest task for INDIA allies while working arithmetic and chemistry and diverse ideologies will be to bring synergy among cadres and find suitable candidates to pull that off.

Analysts say alliance partners will also have to work on building a common narrative to take on the formidable BJP-led NDA coalition.

There will be many challenges and roadblocks, including censuring transfer of votes, attracting new voters amid paucity of time to take on a strong rival like the BJP with ample resources, a strong organisation and a popular face like Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Basically, it will all depend upon their ability to communicate to voters the need for changing the Narendra Modi government, they add.

About The Author

The Tribune Web Desk brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune Wed Desk for not just breaking news stories but wide-ranging coverage of events.

#Assam #BJP #Congress #INDIA bloc #Lok Sabha #Maharashtra #Mamata Banerjee #Nitish Kumar #West Bengal

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