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Seat agreements boost I.N.D.I.A. morale

The Congress would not be unhappy with its share, which includes its traditional seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi in UP.
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 01:48 IST

After receiving serious blows with the exit of several parties and leaders, including one of its founders, the I.N.D.I.A. grouping is showing signs of getting its act together. Last week’s finalisation of a pre-poll alliance and seat allocation between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress in UP is a major step forward, and has given a boost to the Opposition grouping.

The SP, which is the major partner in the state, will contest 63 seats, leaving 17 to the Congress. The Congress would not be unhappy with its share, which includes its traditional seats of Rae Bareli and Amethi, though it is not yet certain who will contest there. The two parties have reached a seat agreement in Madhya Pradesh, where there was no alliance in last year’s Assembly elections.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress have reached a seat-sharing agreement in Delhi, with the former contesting four and the latter three. The Congress has conceded seats in Gujarat, Haryana and Goa to the AAP. The Congress will get the support of the AAP in Chandigarh, but there is no agreement in Punjab. The Maha Vikas Aghadi partners—the Shiv Sena-UBT, the NCP-Sharad Pawar and the Congress—are close to clinching an agreement in Maharashtra. It is unlikely that there will be any problems in seat agreements in Bihar and Tamil Nadu. There are reports that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Congress have revived negotiations after they were thought to have broken down. But the TMC seems to be sticking to the position that it can give only two seats to the Congress. It also wants seats in Assam and Meghalaya. In some states, the I.N.D.I.A. grouping may be irrelevant, or unable to work out agreements because of the local situations. 

Now that the seat adjustments are out of the way, the alliance will have to brace for the more difficult part. Both in UP and Delhi, the BJP had secured more than 50 per cent votes, and it would be difficult to dent its position. There are seats where the average is less than 50 per cent, but the Opposition will have to rise above itself to take the fight home. One major challenge in all alliances is the chemistry between the supporters of the constituent parties, and the ability of the parties to transfer votes to one another. The agenda to be presented before the people and the credibility of the alliances are other important factors. I.N.D.I.A. will have to prove that it is equal to the challenges. It has started late and has a lot of ground to cover. 

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(Published 26 February 2024, 01:48 IST)

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