Lok Sabha elections: Congress fighting against time to stitch alliances
With general elections starting in less than a month, Congress has still not announced alliances in Bihar and J&K, hinting that the party is in soup. In Delhi, where AAP was keen for a tie-up, Congress remained indecisive. Similarly, in West Bengal, Congress and Left failed to reach an understanding. Congress' failure to persuade allies might return to haunt it post polls. Here's more.
RJD may contest from 19 seats, leave 9 for Congress
In Bihar, Congress and RJD have joined hands but talks on seat-sharing have remained inconclusive so far. Reports claimed the parties may announce the final deal in the next two days. Out of 40 Lok Sabha seats, Congress reportedly wanted 15, and later came down to 11. Latest speculations suggest an adamant RJD may keep 19 seats for itself, and give 9 to Congress.
Smaller parties, except CPI, got seats in Congress-RJD arrangement
Notably, Congress and RJD have accommodated smaller parties in their arrangement. Reportedly, Upendra Kushwaha's RSLP got four seats, Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM(S) got two seats, Sharad Yadav's LJD settled for two seats and Mukesh Sahni's Vikassheel Insaan Party received one seat. But CPI, which hoped to field former JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai, hasn't been given a seat on the table.
AAP tried persuading Congress, it's the other way round now
The National Capital has become a hub of political uncertainty in the recent past. Arvind Kejriwal led AAP wanted to join hands with Congress to ensure anti-BJP votes aren't divided. But, Congress kept up with its reluctance. After being snubbed repeatedly, it seems AAP has taken the offer off the table, just as few Congress members have said the party might be interested.
Party wants to align with like-minded parties: Delhi Congress in-charge
In-charge of Congress' Delhi unit, PC Chacko said he was "consulting" his party members on an alliance with AAP. "The Congress Working Committee has decided to align with like-minded parties to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections," he said and added final decision will be announced by party president Rahul Gandhi soon. But, AAP's Gopal Rai said an alliance isn't possible.
Rai said Congress doesn't want to defeat Modi-Shah
"There will be no alliance with the Congress in Delhi. The way Congress has, again and again, refused an alliance indicates that the party is not interested in defeating the autocratic Modi-Shah rule," Rai said.
Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar became a mediator between AAP and Congress
As AAP is now taking a tough route, NCP leader Sharad Pawar has donned the hat of mediator. On Tuesday, Rahul and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge met Pawar at his Delhi residence where alliance was discussed. Later, Pawar spoke to AAP's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh. Though Singh didn't reveal much about the conversation, he said the "country needs to be saved".
Sheila Dikshit doesn't want an alliance with AAP
AAP rose to prominence by targeting Congress over a series of issues including corruption. Hence, several leaders, including Delhi Congress Chief Sheila Dikshit, don't want an alliance with AAP. In a letter to Rahul, Dikshit said such an alliance will hurt the party in "long run". Later, she said she conveyed her personal views and now party high command will take the decision.
Maharashtra is the only state where Congress made progress
In Maharashtra, Congress stitched an alliance with NCP. While the Congress will contest from 26 seats, NCP got 22 seats. The alliance ran into trouble over seat-sharing, promoting Rahul and Kharge to meet Pawar but that seems to be sorted out now.
Congress and Left failed to put aside differences
Congress and Left have decided to go separate ways in West Bengal, after days of discussions. The former said it won't "compromise its dignity". Subsequently, Left announced 38 candidates. It didn't field candidates from 4 seats which Congress won in 2014. But Left warned that if Congress doesn't withdraw candidates in two seats at Centre, it will contest from those four seats too.
While Congress wants valley's seats, NC isn't ready to budge
In the northernmost state, Congress and NC reached an impasse over Kashmir valley. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party believes it a "strong contender" in Anantnag and Baramulla. But Omar Abdullah communicated to Congress that all three Lok Sabha seats in the valley will have NC's candidates. Latest reports suggest a Congress delegation will meet Abdullah on Wednesday.
Quite obviously, Congress' fans want it to move fast
Unsolicited advice to all leaders of opposition parties, "stop speaking against each other in public. Sort out your differences privately."— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) March 19, 2019