INDIA bloc leaders likely to meet on June 1 to assess Lok Sabha polls performance, TMC to skip

INDIA bloc leaders likely to meet on June 1 to assess Lok Sabha polls performance, TMC to skip

New Delhi | The top leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc are likely to meet in the national capital on June 1 to assess their performance in the Lok Sabha elections and chalk out their strategy ahead of the results.

The proposed meeting, sources said, will be convened in the afternoon of June 1 when the last phase of polling will be underway.

During the meeting, the opposition leaders will discuss their strategy ahead of the June 4 results and assess their performance in the seven-phase elections, they said.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, who is one of the senior-most leaders of the opposition bloc, has convened the meeting, sources said.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has said that she would not be able to attend the June 1 meeting in view of voting in West Bengal and the cyclone.

Asked about the meeting, she said the INDIA bloc had earlier said that they would hold a meeting on June 1.

"I told them I couldn’t go as we will still have polls here like a few other states. How could I go with cyclone relief on one side and elections on the other?" Banerjee said in Kolkata.

"My priority is ensuring relief for the people. I am doing a meeting here but my heart lies with the affected people," she added.

Sources in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) said party supremo Mamata Banerjee, party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and other top leaders will be voting on the day and hence will be unable to attend the meeting and pointed out that the party has so far attended all meetings of the opposition bloc.

The TMC has conveyed this to the organisers, they added.

Voting will take place on nine seats, including two seats in Kolkata - Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar, in West Bengal on June 1.

The other constituencies that go to polls in the state include Jadavpur, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jayanagar, Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour.

During the meeting, the opposition leaders will get together to evaluate the poll outcome and discuss their future strategy ahead of the June 4 results, sources said.

The opposition alliance has been claiming that it will be able to stop the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) from returning to power at the Centre and cobble together a government of its own.

The first meeting of the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc was held in Patna on June 23 last year, followed by a meeting in Bengaluru on July 17-18, 2023, and then in Mumbai between August 31 and September 1, where the opposition parties adopted resolutions to unitedly contest the Lok Sabha elections.

The fourth meeting of the opposition bloc was held in Delhi on December 19. The next time the opposition leaders came together was in Delhi on March 31, when top leaders shared the stage at the 'Save Democracy' rally held against the arrests of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. A similar 'Ulgulan' rally was held in Ranchi on April 21.

While the TMC, which is in power in West Bengal, does not have any seat-sharing deal with the Congress or any other INDIA bloc party in their home state, its candidate Laliteshpati Tripathi in Uttar Pradesh's Bhadohi has been supported by ally Samajwadi Party.

Meanwhile, the ruling alliance led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also claimed that it will form the government at the Centre for the third successive time after the elections.

Twenty-eight opposition parties came together to form the INDIA bloc. However, some parties such as Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) later switched over to the NDA.

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