EVEN AS the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) on Friday announced to expedite the seat-sharing process by setting a deadline, the states of West Bengal and Kerala are unlikely to witness the same. Sources confirmed to The Indian Express that the volatile political rivalry in these two states have led to the inclusion of the phrase ‘as far as possible’ in its resolution on fighting the elections together.
The third meeting of opposition INDIA passed a resolution on contesting the election together which read, “We, the INDIA parties, hereby resolve to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections together as far as possible….” The inclusion of the term has led to speculations about the disagreement on seat-sharing between parties within the INDIA group. The Indian Express learnt that in Friday’s meeting, discussion was held on West Bengal and Kerala following which the term ‘as far as possible’ was included in the resolution.
A senior leader who attended the meeting said that considering the ‘unpredictability’ of decision-making process of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the parties agreed to fix the seat-sharing by September-end and begin preparations. “The discussion was in the context of special Parliament session called by the Union government in mid-September,” the leader added.
“Kerala is governed by Left front and the Congress is main opposition. It is impossible to ask ruling Left front to not contest on seats which are currently held by the Congress. The state has negligible presence of the BJP and therefore in case of a fight between the Congress and the Left, the beneficiary would be INDIA front by the end,” said the leader.
He confirmed that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury had an exchange over the seat-sharing in West Bengal. “The relations between the workers of two parties have gone terribly sour. The seat-sharing will be difficult and therefore the possibility of these two parties contesting against each other remains,” the leader added.
Meanwhile, sources informed that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the meeting said that his party will be flexible during the seat-sharing talks with regional parties and will try to incorporate all.
It was said to be in response to Aam Adami Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejariwal’s praise towards Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for the Congress’ supportive stand on Centre’s ordinance on Delhi.
Another leader who was present in the meeting said that the bonhomie could be an indication that both parties are enroute settling their differences over seat distribution in Delhi as well as Punjab.
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