'For alliance dharma', AAP offers Congress 1 Lok Sabha seat in Delhi

Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely said seat sharing 'cannot be decided at press conferences', pointing out that Congress candidates were runners-up in five seats

Aam Aadmi Party national convenor, AAP national convenor, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal (Photo: PTI)

Archis Mohan New Delhi

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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday said it will contest six seats in Delhi in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and offer just one to the Congress “considering the alliance dharma.”

Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely hit back at AAP, asserting that seat sharing "cannot be decided at press conferences".

The Congress and AAP have already ruled out an alliance in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital, AAP's national general secretary (organisation), Sandeep Pathak said his party was committed to the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), but found the Congress ill-prepared to contest in the Lok Sabha polls.

Pathak said the AAP and Congress had two official meetings last month to discuss seat sharing, but his party waited for Congress's reply for a month.

He explained that the Congress mediators attributed the delay to the party being busy with its Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, and noted that they lacked clarity on the shape of the alliance.

During their initial talks, the AAP and Congress had initially spoken about contesting in four and three seats, respectively, in Delhi.

"The Congress does not deserve even one seat. But considering the alliance dharma, we have offered them one seat," Pathak elaborated.

Explaining the party's rationale for contesting in six seats in Delhi, Pathak said the Congress had no legislators in the 70-member Delhi Assembly and could win only nine of the 250 wards in the civic polls in December 2022.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the AAP's vote share in Delhi stood at 18.1 per cent to the Congress's 22.5 per cent, and the BJP's 56.5 per cent.

The AAP also proposed that the Congress contest 18 of Gujarat's 26 seats, leaving the remaining eight for them.

It also rejected claims of Congress's Mumtaz Patel, daughter of the late Ahmed Patel, to the Bharuch seat.

It announced two Lok Sabha candidates from Gujarat, including one from Bharuch.

Pathak also questioned Mumtaz’s claim to the Bharuch seat, stating that Congress last won that seat forty years ago.

“Mumtaz Patel lives in Delhi and has no roots in Bharuch, while our candidate, sitting legislator Chaitar Vasava, is popular in the area,” Pathak said.

He requested that the Congress should consider winnability rather than fielding dynasts. Patel represented Bharuch in the 1977, 1980, and 1984 Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said: “No matter whether the AAP and Congress have an alliance, we are going to win all the Lok Sabha seats, polling at least 65 per cent votes.”

The AAP also declared its candidate, sitting Benaulim legislator Venzy Viegas, from the South Goa constituency. Goa has two Lok Sabha seats, and the AAP suggested the Congress should contest from the North Goa seat. It had earlier announced three candidates from Assam. On Tuesday, AAP requested the Congress to cater to their demand.

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First Published: Feb 13 2024 | 6:24 PM IST

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