New Delhi, February 24: In what will be a shot in the arm of the INDIA bloc after the deadlock over seat-sharing in the national capital for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress are likely to officially announce their tie-up for the ensuing poll battle on Saturday. Speaking to ANI on Saturday, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh confirmed the seat-sharing deal with the AAP in Delhi, adding that the alliance will be made official later in the day.

Playing down the rumoured differences over the allotment of seats in the national capital, the Congress general secretary in-charge communications added that his party was always keen to sew up an alliance with the AAP. "Today, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress will officially announce a seat-sharing deal for Dellhi (for the Lok Sabha polls). A lot was being said about the Congress dragging its feet and not interested in an electoral tie-up (with the AAP). However, as I have always maintained, these things take time," the Congress leader said. Lok Sabha Elections 2024: AAP-Congress Delhi Deal Finalised, 4–3 Seat Sharing Agreement Inked.

All the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital are currently held by the BJP. A joint press conference of both parties will be held at 11.30 am in the national capital, the Congress leader informed. AAP general secretary Sandeep Pathak, along with Delhi ministers Saurabh Bhardwaj and Atishi will represent the ruling party in the national capital in the joint press conference, according to an official release. Mukul Wasnik, chairman of the committee formed by Congress for the alliance, the party's Delhi president Arvinder Singh Lovely, and its Delhi-Haryana in-charge, Deepak Babaria, will represent the Congress at the joint press meet.

Meanwhile, a day after the ruling TMC asserted that it would contest all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, Ramesh claimed on Saturday that the doors were still open for an alliance. "Discussions are underway. Our doors are always open for the TMC. Both Mamata Banerjee and the TMC have said they want to strengthen INDIA and the common objective of all Opposition forces is to ensure the defeat of the BJP (in the LS polls). There are occasional flare-ups and heated exchanges during such discussions. But we respect Mamata Banerjee as one of our leading Opposition leaders," Ramesh said. Arvind Kejriwal Says AAP, Congress Mutually Decided To Go Solo in Punjab for 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

The breakthrough on seat-sharing in the national capital came after several rounds of deliberations this week and on Thursday, as well as a meeting at Congress heavyweight KC Venugopal's Delhi residence. According to sources, both parties reached a deal for a four-three alliance, with the AAP contesting four seats and the Congress fielding candidates for three. AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday that the talks over the alliance were delayed and hinted at fresh developments in the next one or two days. In the 2004 elections, the Congress won 6 seats and the BJP 1 while in 2009, the Congress won all 7 seats in the national capital.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the Congress is likely to give AAP one seat in Haryana while the latter will support the former in the battle for the prized Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. The AAP swept the 2015 Assembly elections in the national capital, winning 67 of the 70 seats. In a near-repeat of its performance in 2020, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party ruled the roost, bagging 62 of the 70 seats in the Assembly. In BJP-ruled Gujarat, the AAP is believed to have demanded three seats from the Congress in the ongoing seat-sharing talks. However, a final agreement on this is awaited.

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