Updated March 16th, 2024 at 23:14 IST

Seat-Sharing Agreement Among INDIA Bloc Partners Almost Finalised: Sachin Pilot

The seat-sharing agreement among the INDIA bloc partners is almost finalised, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Saturday.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot | Image:Republic
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New Delhi: The seat-sharing agreement among the INDIA bloc partners is almost finalised, Congress leader Sachin Pilot said on Saturday, expressing confidence of winning the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to provide a better government to the people of the country.

The former Rajasthan deputy chief minister said the country deserves a government that respects the opposition, encourages debates and discussions and does not use agencies on its "whims and fancies".

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Pilot said this while speaking in a debate on the INDIA bloc -- "India's opposition: The search for a narrative and strategy" -- at the "India Today" conclave here. National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi also spoke during the debate.

"I may fight two or four seats less or more, but that is not important. During negotiations, we go to the brink and ultimately, the objective is to field one-on-one candidates against the BJP and the NDA," Pilot said.

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He said the seat-sharing agreement among the alliance partners is almost finalised and the message for the people is very clear that the country deserves a government that respects the opposition, encourages debates and discussions and does not use agencies on its "whims and fancies".

"We are fighting this election to win. Whether we will win or not will depend on the people of this country and it is best that the judgment remains on hold till June 4. The INDIA bloc came to the fore because of the circumstances that the country witnessed for the last nine years," the Congress leader said.

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He alleged that there has been a systematic attack on well-established constitutional entities of the country over the last nine years.

"The attempt was to get all opposition parties together so that we can throw up a formidable challenge to the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and defeat it in the election.... Do not forget that in 2019, the BJP got (around) 37 per cent votes, which means two-thirds of the voters had voted against it.

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"Our attempt was to assimilate all political parties despite their differences. The attempt was to collate a coalition and get everyone together," Pilot said, adding that the Congress has given up a number of seats in many states as it is in the larger interest of the country to have a united opposition.

In a democracy, he said the opposition is almost as important as the government. "The opposition is within its right to ask questions, ask for transparency, debates and discussions. Shouldn't we ask why 147 MPs were suspended in a single day and bills passed? Shouldn't we ask why the Supreme Court ruled against so many things like the electoral bonds? Shouldn't we ask what happened in Chandigarh that the Supreme Court had to intervene? These are important things and we had to nip those in the bud," he said.

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The Congress leader said the Lok Sabha polls were announced on Saturday but the narrative was already set. He questioned about the fulfillment of promises made by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like doubling the farmers' income, two crore jobs a year and reducing poverty and inflation.

"Just casting a vote and electing a government is not democracy. Democracy is that every institution must be credible, transparent and must enjoy the faith of people," he said, adding that it is also about providing a level-playing field to all political parties and encouraging healthy debates in Parliament.

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Pilot said elections are important because the people of the country want to see a credible roadmap as an alternative and "we are the ones who are providing that".

"The INDIA bloc has many partners in the fold but the Congress remains the only political party that can actually pose a formidable challenge to the BJP nationally. Every state has leaders and parties that are very important to us. They are equal partners, not big or small. But nationally, it is the Congress across the length and breadth of India that takes on the BJP and can defeat it. We have done it before and we can do it again," he asserted.

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Atishi said the AAP has chosen its candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls to win the seats they are contesting because it is a "do-or-die battle" for the country.

"Every democratic institution of this country is being eroded one by one (under the BJP's rule).... The issue of electoral bonds has shown that the biggest nationalised bank of the country, the State Bank of India, has become another arm of the BJP," she said.

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Atishi said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are not just putting opposition leaders in jail but these agencies were also used to extort money from the country's biggest businesses, who were forced to buy electoral bonds.

"This is a battle that all of us are fighting. It (the INDIA bloc) is an important achievement to overcome a larger crisis in the country," 

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Published March 16th, 2024 at 23:14 IST