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Parliament Elections 2024: Congress Kicks Off Seat-Sharing Talks With AAP And Bihar Allies, Appoints Coordinators For LS Seats

Congress reportedly aims to reach a 'reasonable and respectable' arrangement in terms of seat-sharing with the INDIA bloc allies during the 2024 parliament elections in a bid to unitedly take on the ruling BJP.

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With few months left for the high-octane electoral drive across the nation, Congress on Monday held a meeting with Aam Admi Party (AAP) to discuss seat sharing for the Lok Sabha elections this year. Earlier, on Sunday, Congress embarked on the poll preparations by initiating the formal seat-sharing talks with its allies in Bihar, the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The grand old party reportedly aims to reach a “reasonable and respectable” arrangement during the 2024 parliament elections in a bid to unitedly take on the ruling BJP.

Congress-AAP meeting

As per media reports, the meeting held to discuss seat-sharing was attended by several leaders of both parties in New Delhi. After the last meeting of the alliance leaders in Delhi last month, discussions on seat-sharing have begun among various parties for different states.The meeting was reportedly attended by Congress' Mukul Wasnik, Ashok Gehlot, Mohan Prakash, Arvinder Singh Lovely while Atishi, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Sandeep Pathak represented the AAP.

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According to Congress leader Mukul Wasnik termed the discussions "very fruitful", and said that the final decision will be taken after future discussions.

"The meeting was very meaningful. Both the parties put forward their views regarding the coordination of seats. Very soon there will be coordination of seats with Aam Aadmi Party. Aam Aadmi Party India is an important and strong party of the alliance. There will be more discussion with you further," he said.

"We had a meeting for about 2 hours in a very good atmosphere. There has been discussion on how elections should be contested on a seat," he added.

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According to sources, there was no discussion on Punjab in the meeting.

Seat-sharing talks with JD(U), RJD

It has been reported that the Congress’s five-member national alliance committee (NAC), headed by senior leader Mukul Wasnik, initiated the seat-sharing talks with authorised leaders of the JD(U) and the RJD in New Delhi.

“The NAC is armed with statistics of past elections, party workers’ aspirations and worked out winnability factors for every seat before embarking on the seat-sharing exercise. We are ready to compromise but not willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of keeping INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc intact,” a senior AICC leader familiar with the development said, requesting anonymity.

According to a Congress leader privy to the matter, the first round of talks was held on a positive. The leader further added that the party was hoping for an all-agreeable solution would emerge in the talks with JD(U) leader Sanjay Kumar Jha and RJD leader Manoj Jha.

“All is well. The talks were positive,” Manoj Jha said after the first round of deliberations at the AICC office in Delhi.

Earlier, it was indicated that out of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, 17 each are likely to be allotted to the JD(U) and the RJD. The Congress is likely to get five seats and the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation may get one seat to contest the general elections.

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Congress appoints coordinators for 539 Lok Sabha seats

Getting one step ahead in the poll preparations, the Congress on Sunday also released a list of coordinators for 539 Lok Sabha constituencies who will assess the political situation in their respective areas and give feedback to the leadership.

The announcement comes as the principal opposition party steps up preparations for the Lok Sabha polls.

In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "The Congress party has just released the list of coordinators covering 539 Parliamentary constituencies with 4 more to come soon."

"Hain Taiyaar Hum! Badlega Bharat. Jeetega INDIA!"

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At a press conference on Saturday, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had said that the party would decide in the coming days on how many seats it would contest but in all the 500-plus constituencies, it had finalised its observers.

He said the exact number of seats would be known only after negotiations with INDIA bloc partners.

"We are trying to put our efforts everywhere, because today we are thinking we are getting 'A' seat but our alliance partners may not agree and say that 'you take 'C' seat'. Therefore, we are putting observers in each constituency," Kharge had said.

"They will get access in each parliamentary constituency and ultimately when the 'INDIA Alliance' is there, then; when negotiation we will have in each state then the exact number will come out.

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"But we are trying to put our efforts everywhere, because today we are thinking we are getting 'A' seat. Suppose our alliance partners don't agree that you take the 'C' seat. Therefore, we are putting observers in each constituency," Kharge had said.

Congress holds seat-sharing talks with Shiv Sena(UBT) and NCP for Maharashtra:

The seat-sharing talks were held at the residence of Congress leader Mukul Wasnik.

Former Rajasthan chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Salman Khurshid were also present during the deliberations, PTI reported.

The seat-sharing talks were held first for Maharashtra and then for Uttar Pradesh in the evening at Wasnik's residence.

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Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole and other leaders from the leaders including former chief minister Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat were present during the deliberations, where NCP's Jitendra Awhad and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders Sanjay Raut and Vinayak Raut were also present.

NCP leader Awhad later said it was decided that the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi would also be part of the MVA coalition in the state and the party may get a share in the tickets. 

"The talks have been constructive. They were more successful than expected. Every seat was discussed," he said.

"The MVA, VBA, communists and peasants and Workers party will take on the communal forces together in Maharashtra. There are no differences amongst us," the NCP leader said.

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"It is true that Shiv Sena wants to contest on more seats and talks are on between Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray on that. Seats cannot be increased just for the sake of it, but for winning," he said on demands made by Shiv Sena.

The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi is an organisation headed by Prakash Ambedkar, who is the grandson of B R Ambedkar. Prakash Ambedkar has a hold in the Vidharba region and may seek seats in the Akola area of Vidharba in Maharashtra. He has also been a three-time MP from Akola constituency.

Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats and the Congress is seeking 26 seats while the Shiv Sena is learnt to be demanding 23 seats, while NP has not disclosed on how many seats it wishes to contest on.

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Talks were also held separately between Congress and Samajwadi Party leaders for Uttar Pradesh, where Ram Gopal Yadav and Javed Ali were present.

"We will hold further discussions on seat-sharing on January 12 and soon after talks are finalised we will let you know the details," Yadav said.

"Why should we do discussions with BSP," he said on talk of inclusion of Bahujan Samaj Party in the alliance.

Ali said discussions were held on certain issues for the coalition and "we will have another round of talks on January 12 and then details will be worked out."
    
 

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