Party leaders postponed their scheduled gathering to the third week of December due to disagreements within the INDIA bloc.
Uddhav Thackeray speaking at the press meet after previous INDIA bloc huddle
The scheduled gathering of party leaders has been pushed back to the third week of December due to alleged disagreements within the INDIA bloc. The meeting, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, received lukewarm responses from several front leaders, stated a report in ANI.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that she was unaware of the meeting and continued with her state programmes. She went on to say, "If we had the information, we wouldn't have scheduled those programmes."
"I don't know, I have no information so I kept a programme in North Bengal...If we had the information, we wouldn't have scheduled those programmes. We would have definitely gone (for the meeting), but we have not received any information," the TMC chief was quoted as saying in the ANI report.
Several key opposition leaders, including Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will be unable to attend the earlier scheduled Wednesday meeting for a variety of reasons, including the impact of Cyclone Mandous in Tamil Nadu and personal commitments, the report added.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren also expressed his inability to attend and suggested that a representative from their side attend in his place.
"I will be busy here. I spoke to Kharge Ji yesterday, maybe a representative from our side will go" Hemant Soren told reporters in Ranchi.
Nonetheless, a coordination meeting of the INDIA bloc's parliamentary leaders is scheduled for Wednesday at Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's residence. This arrangement was confirmed by Kharge's Coordinator, Gurdeep Singh Sappal.
"A coordination meeting of Parliamentary Party leaders of India Alliance will be at 6 pm on December 6th, 2023 at the residence of Congress President Sh. Mallikarjun Kharge. Thereafter meeting of Party Presidents/ Heads of the India Alliance will be scheduled in the third week of December at a date convenient to all," Sappal said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The focus of this upcoming meeting is expected to be seat-sharing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which are only four months away. With Congress facing challenges in some states, particularly after losing assembly elections, this alliance meeting is important for the party.
However, facing a potentially difficult debate, particularly in light of ally Samajwadi Party's criticism in the assembly elections, the Congress is eager for the alliance to move forward to gain a competitive advantage against PM Narendra Modi and the BJP in the 2024 elections.
INDIA, a coalition of 28 opposition parties, intends to challenge the ruling NDA, led by PM Modi's BJP, in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The slogan "Judega Bharat, Jeetega India" (India will unite, India will win) expresses the group's intention to challenge the BJP government.