To stop Modi juggernaut, Cong may contest lowest-ever number of seats in 2019

The party will lay claim to the 44 seats it had won in 2014 and the 224 where it was the runners-up

New Delhi: There are indications that the Congress may be in the fray in only 250-odd Lok Sabha constituencies in the 2019 General Elections. If that happens, it will be the first time the party will be contesting such a small number of seats. It is believed that this is being done to stop Modi from coming to power. The party has prepared a blueprint of the grand coalition it plans to forge for the polls. After reports from the states are in, the AK Antony Committee will take a final call on the issue.

Two-horse race

According to the Congress’ strategy, it will not give away the 44 seats it won in the last Lok Sabha elections. The party will try to put in hard work in the 224 constituencies, where it was at number two in 2014. These seats are in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the Congress is the only major party facing the BJP.

Consolation prize for regional parties

The party is thus strategising to contest around 250 seats. In case the regional parties play truant, they may be given more seats in the Vidhan Sabha elections in return for their support to the grand alliance. The Congress is going to form state-wise committees this month. The committees will negotiate with the regional parties for the alliance. There are 11 states where the Congress is ready to form a coalition with 21 regional parties.

‘Won’t sacrifice our interests’

Randeep Singh Surjewala, national head of the party’s media department, says, “The Congress has formed the AK Antony committee to make decisions about coalition. We will not sacrifice our interests, but we ready to accommodate other parties for the sake of opposition unity.”

Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “If regional parties are influential and popular in a state, they will be given a priority.”

The coalition mathematics: 374 seats in 11 states

State

Seats

NDA
(% votes)

Grand Alliance
(% votes) 

Advantage

Uttar Pradesh

80

42.65

50.51

Grand alliance

West Bengal

42

17.02

49.37

Grand alliance

Karnataka

28

43.37

53.08

Grand alliance

Andhra-Telangana

42

8.52

56.57

Grand alliance

Assam

14

42.94

44.88

Grand alliance

Bihar

40

51.52

32.41

NDA

Jharkhand

14

44.48

37.91

NDA

Maharashtra

48

48.38

38.65

NDA

Tamil Nadu

39

50.48

33.47

NDA

Jammu & Kashmir

6

53.37

42.14

NDA

Odisha

21

21.88

27.41

Unclear

Note: The vote percentages of NDA and the grand alliance are based on 2014 general elections.

Grand Alliance calculus

West Bengal: The Congress is at the fourth place in West Bengal. The Trinamool Congress will be with it. However, it will be difficult to bring the Left, which has a 27.59 percent vote share, on board the coalition.

Karnataka: Congress is in alliance with JD(S) in Karnataka now. The BSP is also an alliance partner.

Andhra Pradesh-Telangana: The TDP has parted ways with the BJP in Telanaga. The votes of TDP and YSR Congress have been included in the grand coalition.

Assam: Congress will pose a challenge if it is able to build an alliance with AIUDF in Assam.

 

Maharashtra: In Maharastra, if the BJP and Shiv Sena split, only then there are any hopes for the grand coalition.

Tamil Nadu: In Tamil Nadu BJP-AIADMK are allies. But due to the division of AIADMK into many factions, DMK and other parties can benefit from this.

Jammu & Kashmir: The alliance of Congress, NC and BSP in Jammu and Kashmir hasn’t been able to pose a challenge to the BJP-PDP combine.

Odisha: In Odisha, the ruling BJD has not allied with any party. The BJP can make efforts to bring BJD into an alliance with it. However, it is too early to say clearly who will benefit from this.

(Report by: Santosh Kumar, Pawan Kumar)

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