Business Standard

INDIA seals 1st seat-sharing deal as SP, Cong join hands

- ARCHIS MOHAN New Delhi, 21 February

Eight months after leading Opposition parties resolved to fight together in the 2024 Lok Sabha (LS) elections, the Indian National Developmen­tal Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc announced its first seat-sharing agreement on Wednesday. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress reached an agreement to contest Uttar Pradesh’s 80 LS seats.

In Lucknow, leaders of the two parties announced that the SP and its smaller allies will contest 63 seats, and the Congress 17. Sources in the Congress said that General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra intervened on her party’s behalf to speak to SP president Akhilesh Yadav to iron out the rough spots in the agreement that the interlocut­ors of the two parties had discussed threadbare for over a month.

UP’S seat-sharing agreement is the first that the beleaguere­d INDIA has announced. The Opposition grouping has witnessed attrition, with allies exiting, such as the Rashtriya Lok Dal, or ruling out seat-sharing with the Congress, as the Trinamool Congress did in West Bengal.

The seat-sharing agreement was announced at a joint press conference in Lucknow. The SP had earlier announced its candidates on 31 of the 80 seats, including a few that the Congress was keen to contest. The SP agreed to withdraw its candidates from Varanasi and allow Congress to contest Amroha. Sources said Yadav will likely join the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in the coming days. Yadav had conveyed to the Congress his inability to take part in the Yatra pending the seat-sharing agreement.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will share the stage with Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury at a rally in Patna on March 3.

The 17 seats that the Congress will contest include Raebareli, Amethi and Varanasi. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi has represente­d Raebareli since 2004 but was elected to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

 ?? PHOTO: PTI ?? SP President Akhilesh Yadav (right) at a press conference in Moradabad on Wednesday. Congress sources said General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Yadav to iron out the difference­s
PHOTO: PTI SP President Akhilesh Yadav (right) at a press conference in Moradabad on Wednesday. Congress sources said General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke to Yadav to iron out the difference­s

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