(Source: PTI)

Did Congress Just Hand All Seven Delhi Seats To BJP?

The Indian National Congress effectively ruled out an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, a development that is expected to help the Bharatiya Janata Party by splitting the opposition votes.

The two parties were exploring a seat-sharing formula ahead of the polls to take on the BJP in the seven seats in the national capital. “A unanimous decision has been taken that there will be no alliance in Delhi,” Delhi Congress Chief and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said today. Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal responded with an accusation of a “secret understanding” between the Congress and the BJP.

The Delhi Chief Minister’s anger may be based in the realisation that a split in opposition vote between the AAP and the Congress will hand a victory to the BJP. “Clearly a resurgent Congress party and the AAP will be battling it out in Delhi for the same space,” said political analyst Manisha Priyam.

It would be advantage BJP in the election from the word go because the momentum has been lost.
Manisha Priyam, Political Analyst

Former AAP Leader and journalist Ashutosh called Kejriwal’s outburst on twitter “immature”, saying the Congress’ refusal to the alliance may have just been a pressure tactic. He agreed that a failure to form an alliance may hand the BJP all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi like in the last general election in 2014.

Today if AAP and Congress don’t come together, there is a possibility they will split each-other’s votes and benefit BJP.
Ashutosh, Former AAP Leader 

But the Congress’ alliance woes are not limited to Delhi. Apart from a tie-up with the DMK in Tamil Nadu, the primary opposition party has not managed to cement a seat-sharing formula in any major state. While negotiations are on in Maharashtra and West Bengal, the party has decided to go it alone in Andhra Pradesh and, most importantly, Uttar Pradesh where a united opposition would have given the BJP a tough fight.

CSDS Professor Sanjay Kumar puts this down to “confusion” within the Congress on whether to formulate a short-term strategy that focuses on forming anti-BJP alliances for the Lok Sabha elections and conceding seats to regional players or a long-term strategy which would require strengthening the party even at the cost of potential allies.

The Congress thinks it is the biggest opposition party and the alternative to BJP. They want a larger number of seats despite a poor performance in 2014. This is the dispute.
Sanjay Kumar, Professor CSDS