LS polls: AAP, Cong announce seat-sharing pact for Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The AAP will contest four Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and the Congress three, the parties said on Saturday as they announced their seat-sharing arrangements for the national capital, Gujarat, Goa and Haryana.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak said that sidelining its own political interests, his party entered into an alliance with the Congress as it believes that the "country is important and the party secondary".

The Congress and the AAP are constituents of the INDIA bloc, formed by opposition parties to take on the BJP in the upcoming general elections.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri termed the tie-up between the two parties an "opportunist alliance".

In a joint press conference here, Congress leader Mukul Wasnik announced that the AAP will contest the New Delhi, the West Delhi, the South Delhi and the East Delhi seats, and his party the Chandni Chowk, the Northeast Delhi and the Northwest Delhi seats.

AAP leaders Saurabh Bharadwaj, Atishi Singh and Sandeep Pathak with Congress leaders Mukul Wasnik, Deepak Babaria and Arvinder Singh Lovely during a joint press conference, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

The BJP had won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the 2014 and 2019 polls. In the last elections, BJP candidates in each of the seats polled more votes than Congress and AAP candidates combined.

In Gujarat, the AAP will contest two of the 26 seats in the state -- Bharuch and Bhavnagar -- while the Congress will field candidates on the remaining 24, according to their seat-sharing arrangement.

The Congress will contest both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa and the lone seat in Chandigarh, Wasnik said.

The AAP had earlier declared its Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas as its candidate for the South Goa Lok Sabha seat, currently held by Congress' Francisco Sardinha.

In Haryana, the Congress will contest nine of the 10 Lok Sabha seats while the AAP will field its candidate in Kurukshetra, Wasnik said.

He said Congress workers in Delhi will ensure that INDIA bloc candidates win all seven seats here.

No alliance in Punjab
The AAP and the Congress have mutually decided to fight the Lok Sabha polls on their own in Punjab, the parties announced.

"Special circumstances" exist in Punjab, Wasnik said and added that in view of these, the AAP and the Congress have decided to fight the Lok Sabha polls separately in the state.

On the developments related to the Bharuch seat, the Congress leader said he hoped all Congress workers would respect the decision to give the seat to AAP.

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel's son Faisal Patel had staked a claim to contest from Bharuch, saying he and "conscientious" Congress workers will not support the AAP candidate.

AAP's Chaitar Vasava will contest from Bharuch and Umeshbhai Makwana from Bhavnagar.

"After taking into account all situations and deliberations, we have decided this between the two parties. I have full confidence that each Congress worker will honour this decision and AAP workers will also follow this agreement," Wasnik said. 

Faisal in his latest reaction said Bharuch can be won only if a Congress candidate contests.

On the decision regarding Punjab, AAP leader Pathak said, "People are very intelligent and they understand everything."

The campaign strategy of the INDIA bloc will be discussed together at a later stage, he said and asserted that the tie-up will upset the "calculations and strategy" of the BJP.

Stressing on a strong alliance, Pathak said the polls will be fought by the INDIA bloc with AAP and Congress candidates contesting on different seats.

He also alleged that the BJP was eliminating institutions in the country and sending opposition leaders to jail to win the polls. Farmers have also been treated unjustly and people are suffering from inflation and unemployment, Pathak charged. 

'Dysfunctional Alliance', says BJP
BJP leader Hardeep Puri said the most curious part of this "dysfunctional" alliance is "they will be together in Delhi, but against each other in Punjab. "The path to hell (or in this case political oblivion!) is paved with skewed alliances," he said in a post on X.

"If the opportunist alliance between the AAP and the Congress even manages to survive its inherent contradictions it will be the most bizarre political combination in every sense. One that tries to pull the wool over the eyes of their own voters," Puri said. 

People will clearly remember that the AAP came into being after protesting against the "rampant impunity and corruption of the Congress which it subsequently defeated in Delhi and as the slew of cases against their ministers and leaders show, has now even embodied what they protested against", he said.

But the most curious part of this "dysfunctional dalliance - they will be together in Delhi, but against each other in Punjab!", Puri said. 

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