Congress postpones I.N.D.I.A meet to Dec 3rd week “date convenient to all”
Hemant Soren and MK Stalin said they were unavailable on the initially proposed 6 December; Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav too declined, noting the lack of prior discussion
After the heads of several parties in the INDIA bloc expressed unavailability on 6 December, the Congress announced that the top Opposition leaders will converge in Delhi during the third week of December, at a "date convenient to all". The meeting on 6 December was meant to be involve the parliamentary party leaders of the Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
All-India Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said on Monday, 4 December, that they would not be able to attend the Wednesday meeting, which was called without consulting them on their availability.
On Monday, 5 December, Banerjee claimed that she would go ahead with her state programmes as she was not aware of the meeting call. "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 said.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren had informed Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge of his inability to make it for a meeting on Wednesday too. "I will be busy here. I spoke to Kharge-ji yesterday. Maybe a representative from our side will go," said Soren in Ranchi.
It has also been reliably learnt that Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin expressed his unavailability due to the unprecedented rains in the state, which he felt requires his presence on the ground.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar too reportedly stated that he might not be able to attend, as he has been unwell.
Keeping all of this in mind, the AICC coordinator in the Congress president's office, Gurdeep Singh Sappal, posted on X (formerly Twitter) that a coordination meeting of the INDIA parliamentary party leaders only will be held at at 6 pm on 6 December 2023, at Kharge's residence.
“Thereafter (the) meeting of party presidents/heads of the INDIA alliance will be scheduled in (the) third week of December at a date convenient to all,” posted Sappal.
The INDIA bloc contains 28 Opposition parties, including the Congress.
Their first meeting, as a joint Opposition gathering, was convened in Patna on 23 June 2023, and as a formal alliance was announced, a second meeting was held in Bengaluru on 17–18 July. The third meeting happened in Mumbai over 31 August 31 to 1 September.
At the Mumbai meeting, the INDIA bloc adopted a resolution to collectively contest the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections, while announcing that seat-sharing arrangements would be finalised as soon as possible, being decided in a spirit of give and take.