• Saturday, April 20, 2024

INDIA

India opposition ink election seat deals in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu

The Indian National Congress will contest in 18 seats in the western state of Maharashtra while in Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK gave two seats each to two Left parties.

Indian opposition leaders Rahul Gandhi (L) of the Indian National Congress and Uddhav Thackeray of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Bakasaheb Thackeray) at a meeting. (ANI Photo/Amit Sharma)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA’S opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) saw more seat-sharing arrangements getting finalised for the general elections due in some months.

In the western state of Maharashtra, which sends the second highest number of lawmakers (48) to the Lok Sabha or Lower House of the Indian parliament after Uttar Pradesh which sends 80, the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (Maharashtra Development Front) featuring Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party faction led by Sharad Pawar have reportedly arrived at the decision to contest in all the seats in the state.

According to reports, the Sena (UBT) will contest in 20 seats in Maharashtra while the Congress will field candidates in 18. The NCP led by Pawar will contest in the remaining 10 seats.

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Sources said the Shiv Sena faction led by ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will contest 20 of the state’s 48 seats. The Congress will contest 18 and the Nationalist Congress Party unit led by Sharad Pawar will field candidates for the other 10.

The Vanchir Bahujan Aghadi, which is led by Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of the father of the Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, will get two seats from the share of Sena (UBT) while Raju Shetty, an independent, will be backed by Pawar’s NCP unit.

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While a formal announcement is likely in some time, eyes will also be on Manoj Jarange Patil, who has emerged as the focal point of intense protests for reservations for Marathas across Maharashtra, adding to challenges for the state’s government led by the Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party and Nationalist Congress Party.

The Sena (UBT)-Congress-NCP (Pawar) deal happened after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reached out to Sena (UBT) chief and former chief minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray and Pawar.

The Sena (UBT) is likely to contest in four of six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, and one of them could go to Ambedkar’s outfit. The seat-sharing talks had a roadblock over nine constituencies, including Mumbai South Central and North West. Both the Congress and Sena (UBT) wanted them, it was reported.

The matter was resolved later.

In the 2019 general elections, the BJP won 23 of the 48 seats in Maharashtra while its then ally Sena (undivided) won 18. The undivided NCP had bagged four. The Congress and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen had won a seat each while one went to an independent candidate.

The Congress recently finalised seat-sharing deals with other parties of the INDI Alliance, including Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and Aam Aadmi Party in a number of states including Delhi, Haryana, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh.

Opposition finalise deals in Tamil Nadu

Seat-sharing deals were also being finalised by the opposition in the south. The ruling party of Tamil Nadu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), on Thursday (29) inked arrangements with the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and allotted two seats each to both the Left parties, the Hindu newspaper reported, adding the constituencies will be decided upon later.

The decision was made after leaders of the DMK and the two Left parties met earlier in the day in Chennai, the state capital.

The DMK, which won 23 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats in 2019, had begun finalising seat-sharing pacts with allies since last week. It gave the Ramanathapuram seat to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Namakkal to Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi party.

Both the Left parties had won two seats each in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 general elections.

The DMK’s talks with the Congress over sharing of seats in Tamil Nadu were yet not sorted as the latter was reportedly upset with the offer of seven seats while it has demanded at least 10, including one in the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry.

The opposition won 35 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 elections while the National Democratic Alliance led by prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won only one and it was by the BJP’s former alliance All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The BJP failed to win a single seat.

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