West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, the Trinamool Congress, may not attend the next INDIA alliance coordination meeting on Wednesday, according to sources. Banerjee cited a lack of seat-sharing arrangements with other INDIA members as the reason for the Congress’ loss in the recent state elections. Additionally, Banerjee has a pre-scheduled program in north Bengal. The sources also mentioned that the Trinamool Congress was unaware of the meeting and may also skip it.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge called for the next meeting of the opposition bloc, despite the party’s significant defeats in three states by the BJP. This meeting comes after a three-month gap since the last one held in Mumbai. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss plans for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in the next year.
The BJP emerged victorious in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, tightening its grip on the Hindi heartland and dealing a major blow to the Congress. However, the Congress did manage to win Telangana in the state assembly elections, seen by many as a semi-final before the general elections in 2019.
The Congress faced criticism from its INDIA alliance allies for not fighting the state elections together, thus creating division among the opposition. Mamata Banerjee addressed the West Bengal Assembly, stating that the Congress lost because of the division of votes caused by INDIA parties and a lack of seat-sharing arrangement.
Omar Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, taunted the Congress for remembering the INDIA alliance after a three-month hiatus, referring to an invitation by the Congress chief for lunch with alliance leaders on December 6.
Following the defeats, the Congress announced that it would introspect on the reasons behind their loss in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. Mallikarjun Kharge acknowledged the mistakes made and expressed the party’s intention to make course corrections. He attributed the losses to overconfidence in some states and a failure to select proper candidates and run effective campaigns in the final days of the elections.
Despite the setbacks, several opposition leaders emphasized that the INDIA alliance would not be affected by the results and urged the bloc to work harder for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Farooq Abdullah, leader of the National Conference, stated that victories and losses are a part of the political process and called for unity to strengthen the country. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav expressed optimism for the 2024 polls and highlighted the need to support parties in their respective strongholds.
The INDIA bloc is now awaiting a response to load.