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Crack in the INDIA bloc? Mamata Banerjee likely to skip next alliance meet. What we know so far

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is considering skipping the forthcoming gathering of the opposition’s INDIA bloc on December 6.

Earlier on Monday, Banerjee expressed her lack of awareness regarding any such meeting.

The scheduled December 6 assembly marks a three-month hiatus since the last one in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1

 During a media address on Monday, the West Bengal CM stated that her party was not informed about the INDIA bloc’s intention to convene a session in New Delhi. 

“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,” TMC chief said, as reported by ANI.

Meanwhile, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has reached out to his alliance partners, extending invitations for a meet. Following the Mumbai meeting, Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar faction) leader Supriya Sule hinted that the next assembly would take place in the national capital, ANI reported.

With the Lok Sabha polls merely four to five months away, discussions on seat-sharing are expected to dominate the agenda.

The forthcoming INDIA bloc meeting holds significant importance for the Congress, especially in the aftermath of the party’s loss in the Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls – key states in the Hindi heartland contributing significantly to parliamentary representation.

However, Congress might face challenges during this meeting, particularly with its crucial ally, the Samajwadi Party, adopting a confrontational stance following the assembly elections.

Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, accused the Congress of betrayal, alleging that the Congress did not allocate tickets to the Samajwadi Party for potential collaboration in Madhya Pradesh.

The Congress now desperately needs the alliance to take off if it harbours any hope of giving Narendra Modi and the BJP competition in the 2024 election.

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.

The inaugural joint opposition gathering took place in Patna on June 23, followed by the second meeting in Bengaluru on July 17-18. Subsequently, the third meeting occurred in Mumbai from August 31 to September 1.

During the Mumbai meeting, opposition parties collectively resolved to contest the forthcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. They declared an intention to finalize seat-sharing arrangements promptly, emphasizing a collaborative approach.

The chosen theme for the elections is “Judega Bharat, Jeetega India” (India will unite, India will win), signaling their collective effort to challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government.

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Updated: 05 Dec 2023, 09:59 AM IST

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