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Congress and allies in Maha strike accord for 39 seats; negotiations ongoing for nine more: Sources

Written by  Annesha Barua -- February 23rd 2024 04:32 PM
Congress and allies in Maha strike accord for 39 seats; negotiations ongoing for nine more: Sources

Congress and allies in Maha strike accord for 39 seats; negotiations ongoing for nine more: Sources

PTC News Desk: Efforts by the Congress to finalise seat-sharing arrangements for the upcoming general elections have advanced further, according to sources, with discussions progressing with Maharashtra allies for 39 out of the state's 48 parliamentary seats. This development follows outreach efforts by Rahul Gandhi to engage with Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena (UBT) and the faction of the Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar. The Congress has already secured deals with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party for 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh and with Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party for three seats in Delhi.

Additionally, the Congress has initiated talks with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress to revive negotiations that stalled last month when Banerjee declined to alter her offer of two Lok Sabha seats. Sources within the Congress disclosed to NDTV that the party has revised its demand to five seats, but a spokesperson from the Trinamool dismissed this claim, stating, "Even with binoculars, we are unable to find a third seat for Congress."

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In Maharashtra, disagreements persist among the allies, particularly over eight seats, including two in Mumbai—South Central and North West—that are coveted by both Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress. Furthermore, delays stem from demands made by Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, who is seeking allocation for five seats. In the previous 2019 elections, despite contesting a substantial number of seats, Ambedkar's party failed to secure any victories.

In the same election, Shiv Sena (then in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party) emerged victorious in 18 out of 23 contested seats, including the Mumbai South Central and North West constituencies. The Congress, on the other hand, managed to win only one seat out of the 25 it contested, while Sharad Pawar's NCP, also part of the alliance at that time, secured four out of 19 seats.

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The current landscape of negotiations in Maharashtra has been complicated by recent defections, notably by Ashok Chavan, who swiftly transitioned to the BJP and is now a member of the Rajya Sabha. This defection followed closely on the heels of Milind Deora's departure to Shiv Sena under Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's leadership.

According to sources, Shiv Sena, recognising the Congress's weakened position and its recent electoral setbacks, is pushing for a larger share of parliamentary seats from Mumbai. Nevertheless, all parties involved are motivated to reach a consensus, understanding that the upcoming 2024 elections pose a formidable challenge against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's formidable electoral machinery.

Since its establishment in June, the opposition bloc has already suffered setbacks with the departure of Janata Dal (United) led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a founding member, and Jayant Chaudhary's Rashtra Lok Dal, which holds influence among the Jat community in western Uttar Pradesh. Both parties have since aligned with the BJP, underscoring the urgency for opposition unity in the face of the BJP's electoral dominance.

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(Inputs from agencies)



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