Delhi alliance is on: AAP to fight 4 seats, Congress 3

The tieup could upset the BJP's applecart in Delhi, where it had won all seven seats in the 2014 elections.

New Delhi: A deal between the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party over the seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha polls has reportedly been sealed in Delhi, while talks are on for Haryana. The deal between the two parties was reportedly finalised after a marathon meeting between senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the party’s in-charge for Delhi affairs P.C. Chacko and AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh. Now the Congress is likely to field three candidates and the AAP will fight in four seats in the parliamentary polls. The tieup could upset the BJP’s applecart in Delhi, where it had won all seven seats in the 2014 elections.

Once the alliance is officially announced, the Congress is set to field former Union ministers Ajay Maken and Kapil Sibal from New Delhi and Chandni Chowk seats respectively, and former Delhi minister Raj Kumar Chauhan from North West Delhi. Mr Sibal is also a Rajya Sabha member. Mr Raj Kumar Chauhan is said to be a trusted lieutenant of state unit chief and three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

The AAP candidates who will contest the Lok Sabha polls are Raghav Chadha from South Delhi, Aatishi Marlena from East Delhi, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi and Balbir Singh Jakhar from West Delhi. The BJP, which is yet to finalise its list of candidates, may announce the names in the next 48 hours.

The filing of nomination papers began on Wednesday. So far, 12 nominations have been filed — three each from East Delhi and New Delhi, two each from Chandni Chowk and West Delhi and one each from North East Delhi and South Delhi.

Delhi is scheduled to vote on May 12. The last date for filing of nominations is April 23, with April 19 and 21 being closed for Good Friday and Sunday respectively. The date for scrutiny of nomination papers is April 24, and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 26.

To take the alliance talks forward in Haryana, AAP’s Sanjay Singh met AICC general secretary in charge of Haryana Ghulam Nabi Azad. Sources said Mr Singh proposed a 6-3-1 seat-sharing formula in Haryana, in which the Congress would fight from six seats, while the Jannayak Janata Party would field its candidates in three seats and one candidate would be fielded by the AAP. But the Congress has proposed a 7-2-1 seat-sharing formula, in which seven Congress candidates, two JJP candidates and one AAP candidate would be in the fray.

According to the new alliance formula, sources said JJP candidates are likely to contest from Hisar and Sonepat and the AAP will field its candidate from Karnal. The Congress is likely to contest in Gurugran, Faridabad, Rohtak, Anbala, Sirsa, Kaithal and Biwani. There is a strong possibility that the AAP may back the Congress candidate in the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, which is at present represented by Bollywood actress Kirron Kher. But Mr Sanjay Singh said the talks ended “inconclusively” as the Grand Old Party refused a tieup in Haryana.

On the AAP-Congress alliance in Delhi, the latter had on Tuesday said it had shown a “big heart” by agreeing to form an alliance with the AAP, and said the ball was now in the court chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party to take a final call on the issue, that had been dragging on for the past one month.

A day after Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Mr Kejriwal had a public spat on the issue, the Congress said it had already offered the AAP four seats. The Congress chief had said while the doors of his party were open, time was running out, but Mr Kejriwal attacked him, questioning what U-turn was he talking about as the talks were still on. The Congress had offered the AAP a 4-3 formula — four Lok Sabha seats for the AAP and three for itself, while the AAP had proposed a 5-2 formula, keeping five seats for itself and two for the Congress. The arrangement was finally arrived at on the basis of the voteshare of both parties in the 2017 civic polls.

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