Congress is forced to deal with losses in seat sharing with allies.

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The Congress, which once ruled the country as a monopolist, has been forced to make a loss-making deal with regional parties for Lok Sabha election seats. This condition of Congress has happened after suffering a crushing defeat in the last Lok Sabha elections and the recently held assembly elections. Regional parties are taking the political space vacated by the weakening Congress. The position of Congress has become such that if it wants to survive in politics, it has to bow before regional parties. Congress has sacrificed about 70 seats in alliance with regional parties. Last time Congress had contested elections on these seats. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress contested 421 seats. Of these, Congress managed to win only 52 seats. The way Congress is forging alliances with regional parties, it may put a brake on Congress emerging as the largest party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In such a situation, even if the non-BJP alliance comes into majority at the Centre, it will be difficult for the Congress to play the role of captain.

However, if the last assembly elections are considered a prediction of the Lok Sabha elections, then the chances of the opposition parties forming the government at the center are slim. Apart from Delhi, there is an alliance between Congress and Aam Aadmi Party for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 in Haryana, Gujarat, Goa and Chandigarh. Aam Aadmi Party is contesting on seven out of 46 seats. Arvind Kejriwal had also prepared to field his candidate for Goa and Chandigarh, but after the alliance he changed his decision. After announcing its candidate for one seat in Goa, Aam Aadmi Party has given both the seats to Congress. In Delhi too, earlier Aam Aadmi Party had talked about contesting elections on six seats, but later compromised on only four seats. In Delhi, Congress had to compromise with Aam Aadmi Party by agreeing to contest elections on 3 seats. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party will contest from four out of seven seats – West Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi and New Delhi. Congress will contest from the remaining three – North East Delhi, North West Delhi and Chandni Chowk parliamentary seats.

In the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had won all seven seats in Delhi. In the Lok Sabha elections twice in a row, AAP and Congress candidates did not succeed in winning even a single seat. Out of 26 seats in Gujarat, two seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste and four seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribe. Aam Aadmi Party will contest on two seats and Congress on 24 seats. No party in the alliance is missing out on taking advantage of the weak political condition of Congress. Every party is trying to arm-twist the Congress as much as possible. After the sharp attitude of Samajwadi Party, Congress has suffered the biggest loss in Uttar Pradesh. Congress has made a deal with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party. The party will contest 17 seats in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the highest number of MPs to the Lok Sabha. There is a deadlock between Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) in Maharashtra as a decision has not yet been taken on eight seats. West Bengal also remains a challenge for Congress. Trinamool has announced to contest elections on all 42 seats. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already said that Congress should contest elections from the states within its sphere of influence. There is no place for Congress in states with regional parties. It is clear from Mamata’s attitude that there will be no seat sharing with Trinamool in West Bengal. Even if it happens, Congress will not be able to cross the double digit mark. Trinamool is not ready to give more than two seats to the Congress, which is demanding at least five seats in the eastern state. However, senior Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said that party chief Mamata Banerjee has given her stand and there has been no change in the position.

After its successes with Samajwadi Party and AAP, Trinamool is trying to score a hat-trick with Congress. To sweeten the potential deal, the Congress was reportedly willing to give two seats to Trinamool in Assam and one in Meghalaya. The India Bloc, which was formed last year to take on the BJP, has already lost two key members. Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United and Jayant Choudhary’s Rashtra Lok Dal have formed an alliance with BJP. In such a situation, Congress has no option left except to compromise with Lalu Yadav’s party RJD in Bihar. If Congress reaches an agreement with Rashtriya Janata Dal, then BJP will get a chance to attack Congress with double speed on corruption issues. The disintegrating India alliance has dealt a major blow to the condition of Congress, which had weakened after its defeat in the last elections. Given the condition of the Congress, the seat agreements are showing more compulsion than alliance. It is certain that the Congress, which is being pushed from power at the Center and the states, will not clarify its policies, till then not only the BJP but also the parties of the Indian alliance will continue to force it to marginalize it.

-Yogendra Yogi

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