The narrative was already set in the meeting of I-N-D-I-A at Bengaluru early this week. That narrative was that because the newly formed alliance’s name is India, the opposition parties will emotionally force the voters to vote for them. Well, that’s a different story altogether, and I have discussed that in detail in my previous blog. Today I will talk about the seat sharing by Congress with its alliance partners for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024.
Congress and its allies want to defeat BJP (read Narendra Modi) at any cost, and that is why they are showing that they all have come to gather and have forged a ‘formidable alliance’. But, for Congress, the cost it will have to pay to make that dream come true will be vast and unprecedented. In not less than nine states, it is currently fighting with its I-N-D-I-A alliance, and looking at the current political capital Congress has in its hands, it will be tough for it to have its say whenever the seat-sharing discussion comes up on the table.
Let’s see what seat sharing by Congress we are currently looking at for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections of 2024 and what challenges it will face with its partners in the nine states of India.
Seat Sharing by Congress in Lok Sabha Elections 2024
Congress fought the last assembly elections in Punjab against the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal but also against the ruling party AAP. Now AAP is part of the opposition coalition. In my previous blog, I wrote that AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal believed that the alliance should first decide on seat sharing and its title. Perhaps he knows better than Congress what the situation will be in Punjab and his state Delhi. Till last, by-elections in the state Congress has fought AAP, and thus the situation in 2024 will be challenging for it to sit with AAP and share the seats.
The state of Delhi will be no different than Punjab for both AAP and Congress. We all know that Arvind Kejriwal agreed to stay in the opposition coalition on one condition: Congress will support its stand in the parliament regarding the central government’s ordinance on the matter of LG vs CM. Despite the strong opposition by Delhi Congress leader Ajay Maken, Congress agreed with Kejriwal. All looked good till now, but will Delhi Pradesh Congress agree with the diktat by AAP on how many seats it will fight for in the upcoming big elections?
Last time Congress tried to ally with Samajwadi Party but failed miserably. Yet, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, who were in an alliance with Mayawati then, decided not to field any candidate against Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareilly) and Rahul Gandhi (Amethi) as a good gesture. Akhilesh and his party will go solo this time, yet because now there is an alliance with Congress, he has to consider seat sharing. Congress’ decline in Uttar Pradesh has been dramatic in the last three decades, and today it is even behind BSP when it comes to influencing the voters. I believe that Congress here has an easy situation and will take the number of seats offered by the Samajwadi Party even if they are in single digits.
The question of seat sharing by Congress in West Bengal will be as good as in Uttar Pradesh. Mamata Banerjee holds all the aces for seat sharing in Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Only Mamata will decide which party will get how many seats. Although TMC, Congress and the Left are part of I-N-D-I-A, right now, it doesn’t look like the Left will fight along with Mamata, and thus even Congress has to fight against the Left and the BJP in the state. Like Ajit Maken for Kejriwal, the current leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Choudhury is a vocal opponent of Mamata. Will Adhir Dada agree with a smaller chunk his party will get during the seat sharing, or will he be offered ‘no candidate’ from TMC in the election to keep his voice down? That remains to be seen.
Congress fought the last Lok Sabha Election with Lalu Yadav’s RJD against Nitish Kumar’s JDU. This time all three parties are in a single alliance. Just like UP, in Bihar, also Congress had a terrible show last time. The problem Congress will face here will be how many seats it will get from the potent RJD-JDU combination. Will those who fought and lost against these two parties last time ask for tickets this time around or not will be an interesting scenario.
The Hemant Soren government has the support of Congress in the state. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, or JMM, will also be the senior partner in Lok Sabha Elections. Over here, seat sharing for Congress will depend on how bigger or smaller bite Hemant Soren will decide to leave.
The situation in Tamil Nadu will be no different than in Jharkhand. DMK is the senior partner, and MK Stalin will remain a tough nut to crake for the Congress to ask for more seats for the Lok Sabha elections. At this point, I don’t think that Stalin would show any mercy to Congress and give a good number of seats.
Sitaram Yechuri has categorically said that his party and the Left alliance will fight against Congress in the states of Kerala and West Bengal, so here the picture is clear, and that is that Congress will have to go solo for the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. But, if the Supreme Court of India exonerates Rahul Gandhi from the ongoing defamation case, will the left leave Wayanad’s seat for him, like last time?
Last but not least is the state where political demography has changed in the last four years. There is a peculiar situation for Congress, and seat sharing for Congress may be very easy this time. This is because Shiv Sena (Uddhav) and NCP (Sharad Pawar) have been weakened drastically. Till now, in Maharashtra, for seat sharing, Congress had to rely heavily on Sharad Pawar, but now Pawar has lost control over his party, and his nephew has taken his entire party and joined the BJP alliance in the state.
With the Shiv Sena, Congress is not as comfortable as it is with the NCP of the past. Now that Congress is the second largest party in Maharashtra State Assembly after the coup by Ajit Pawar, Congress can push his seat-sharing formula forward for the Lok Sabha Elections. Out of 48 odd seats, Congress may decide to fight on most of the seats, and the rest could be shared between Shiv Sena (Uddhav) and NCP (Sharad Pawar).
So, apart from Maharashtra, seat sharing by Congress will not be in its hands. Its alliance partners will decide how many seats across the eight seats Congress will get. After ruling the country for more than six decades, this will be shameful for the Grand Old Party of India.
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That’s all from my side, till we meet next time it’s Aavjo!