I.N.D.I.A bloc meeting at Kharge's residence today, Rahul Gandhi and Rajiv Shukla among first ones to arrive

I.N.D.I.A bloc meeting at Kharge's residence today, Rahul Gandhi and Rajiv Shukla among first ones to arrive

I.N.D.I.A bloc meeting at Kharge's residence today, Rahul Gandhi and Rajiv Shukla among first ones to arrive

A meeting of the floor leaders of the INDIA bloc will be held today at 7 pm at Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence in the national capital, reported ANI, citing sources.

According to the sources, the Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) are likely to skip the meeting.

Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Congress MPs Rajiv Shukla and Rahul Gandhi and Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal were among the first few leaders to arrive at the residence of Congress president Kharge for the meeting.

Earlier today, amid speculations that Mamata Banerjee is likely to skip the I.N.D.I.A bloc meeting due to scheduling issues, the West Bengal Chief Minister clarified, saying that the opposition leaders will be meeting shortly whenever the Congress comes up with a favourable date.

“I was not informed earlier. Only a day before yesterday, Rahul called me up and told me about the meeting…We will be meeting shortly whenever they decide,” Mamata said before leaving for her scheduled North Bengal tour on Wednesday.

Speaking about scheduling issues, the Chief Minister said that her counterparts need prior invitations at least seven or ten days in advance.

“Other Chief Ministers also have meetings. They need to know about the program seven days ago or 10 days ago,” she said.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said that the next meeting of the I.N.D.I.A bloc can take place between 16 and 18 December and many things including the face of the alliance will be decided at that time.

“The INDIA alliance meeting was supposed to be held today but some prominent leaders were not available. There is a wedding in Mamata Banerjee’s house, MK Stalin is busy with the relief operation in his flood-hit state, Nitish Kumar is not well, and Akhilesh Yadav is not available, therefore this meeting will be held on the 16th or 18th of December. The face etc. everything will be decided in the meeting. We are together and you will see its result in 2024,” Sanjay Raut said.

Seat sharing for the Lok Sabha polls, which is just four months away, is likely to be at the top of the agenda. The next INDIA bloc meeting would also be crucial for Congress, particularly as the party lost Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls, the Hindi heartland states that send a large number of members to the Parliament.

The first meeting of the joint opposition convened in Patna on June 23 and the second meeting was held in Bengaluru on July 17-18. The third meeting happened in Mumbai during August 31-September 1.

The INDIA alliance had appeared on shaky ground when the Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the Congress of betrayal after the Congress failed to reach a seat-sharing agreement for the Madhya Pradesh election.

The Samajwadi Party has mellowed its stance now, party spokesperson Rajinder Chaudhary said that the results in the assembly polls would strengthen the INDIA bloc.

INDIA or ‘Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’ is a group of 28 opposition parties, including the Congress. The parties have come together to take on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and prevent it from winning a third straight term at the Centre in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In the Mumbai meeting, the opposition parties adopted resolutions to collectively contest the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections while announcing that seat-sharing arrangements would be finalised as soon as possible through a spirit of give-and-take.

The theme chosen by the INDIA bloc for the elections is “Judega Bharat, Jeetega India” (India will unite, India will win) to take on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

With inputs from agencies