The seat distribution in the I.N.D.I Alliance is a hard nut to crack. Despite numerous meetings, the allies of the I.N.D.I Alliance is not even able to finalise the number of seats to be contested by each party. The partners of the I.N.D.I alliance are trying to grab the maximum number of seats to contest. In this scenario, the performance of all the parties in the previous Lok Sabha poll may be the benchmark to allocate the seat. In the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the Congress party won 52 seats and was a runner on 209 seats.
So, the party can claim 261 seats as per its performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll. But it’s also a fact that the party did not win any seat in 13 States/UTs in two successive polls of 2014 and 19. So other parties like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will try to grab some seats from the Congress party in States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and some other States as the Congress Party performance in 2014 and 2019 was at its nadir. In spite of such disastrous performance in such States, the Congress party is not interested in sharing seats with other parties. The Congress party did not want other parties like AAP or any others to expand its mass base in such States at the cost of the Congress party.
Of the Congress party runner seats, the performance of the Congress party was despicable. Of the 209 seats on which the Congress party was runner, the party lost 85 seats by a margin of more than 3 lakh votes. Besides, the Congress party lost 39 seats in margin of between 2 lakh to 3 lakh votes. So even the allies of the I.N.D.I Alliance will pressurise the Congress party to part with some seats even though the Congress party was the runner as the party lost these seats by a heavy margin.
Two important States, Punjab and Kerala, have other stories. In these two States, the allies of the I.N.D.I Alliance. In Kerala, which has 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Communists and the Congress party are the main challengers. They will fight against one another. In other States, they will support one another. In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress party will be the main opponents, and they will support one another in other States. In Punjab, the AAP will try to corner the Congress party on its performance in the seats of Jalandhara and Sangrur. The Congress party lost the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat even after the Bharat Jodo Yatra passed off from the State, and the Congress party put the late Santokh Singh’s widow to capitalise on the emotional card. In Sangrur Lok Sabha, in the by-poll, the Congress party forfeited its deposit. In the 2019 Lok Sabha poll on the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, the Indian National Congress (INC) was a runner with more than 27 per cent of votes, while in the by-poll, the Congress party got only 11 per cent of the votes and even lost its deposit. So, within the I.N.D.I Alliance the AAP will try to corner more seats in Punjab from the Congress party.
In West Bengal, the AITC is adamant about giving only two seats to the Congress party. Not only that, but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is looking for seats in Assam and Tripura too. Similar is the case in Uttar Pradesh, where Akhilesh Yadav, headed Samajwadi Party, is trying to give only two seats, Amethi and Rae Bareli, to the Congress party. In UP in 2019, the Congress party won a single Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat and was a runner on three seats of Amethi, Kanpur Urban and Fatehpur Sikri. In Fatehpur Sikri, the Congress party even lost its deposit, even being the runner. So, it’s uncertain about the seat distribution among the I.N.D.I Alliance with UP, too. In 2022, Lok Sabha poll, the performance of the Congress party was even worse than Lok Sabha performance in 2019. In the 2022 UP assembly poll, the INC was trailed by the NOTA on 62 seats. The INC contested on 399 seats.