NEW DELHI: Seat-sharing negotiations amongst the INDIA bloc have become a tricky issue in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal between the Congress and its alliance partners. Despite several rounds of meetings between the national alliance committee of the Congress and the regional parties, no consensus has emerged so far.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party has already announced its alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal. Insiders claim that seven seats have been given to the RLD. So far, there have been three meetings between the Congress and the SP. Sources say the Congress has asked for 28 seats in Uttar Pradesh, but the SP is only ready to give 10 seats. A compromise will only come about when the top leadership of both parties meets.
Likewise in Maharashtra. Former Rajasthan chief minister and Congress alliance committee member Ashok Gehlot met Shiv Sena UBT chief Uddhav Thackrey over seat-sharing prospects. Here also, the final outcome will come after the top leaders meet.
In West Bengal, the Trinamul Congress has already told the Congress that they want to give only two seats to the Congress.
In Bihar and Jharkhand, the alliance partners have yet to reach a consensus. In Delhi, talks between the AAP and the Congress are also at an advanced stage. Insiders claim that the AAP is ready to give three Lok Sabha seats in Delhi to the Congress.
While the INDIA bloc seat-sharing talks are still ongoing, alliance partners have already raised a red flag, saying that time is running out.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah recently cautioned the INDIA bloc and said, “If a seat-sharing arrangement is not finalised, then there is a threat to the alliance. It should be done in a time-bound manner. It is possible some may come together to form a separate alliance, which I feel is the biggest danger. There is still time.”
Mr Abdullah further said that parties should seek seats in states only where they are dominant. The veteran J&K leader said it was important to defeat the BJP, as not only democracy is in danger, but also the future generation will not forgive us.
A full INDIA bloc meeting may soon be held early next month to sew up the final seat-sharing arrangements.