INDIA event downgraded from gathering of party chiefs to floor leaders meet

With short notice, top leaders including Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar and M.K. Stalin say they can not attend meet; CPI(M) slams Congress for letting State differences affect INDIA unity at the Centre

December 05, 2023 04:50 pm | Updated 10:01 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi, T.N. CM M.K. Stalin, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, and other Opposition leaders during the second meeting of INDIA bloc leaders in Bengaluru in July 2023. File

Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Rahul Gandhi, T.N. CM M.K. Stalin, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, and other Opposition leaders during the second meeting of INDIA bloc leaders in Bengaluru in July 2023. File | Photo Credit: Murali Kumar K

A day before a scheduled meeting of INDIA parties, the Congress was forced to call off the planned gathering of top leaders, given that many of them, including Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee, said that they would not be able to come at such short notice. The Wednesday meeting has now been re-fashioned as a “coordination meeting of Parliamentary party leaders”.

Gurdeep Sappal, Congress Working Committee member and coordinator of the Congress president’s office posted on X: “A coordination meeting of Parliamentary Party leaders of India Alliance will be at 6:00 pm on December 6th, 2023 at the residence of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge. Thereafter a meeting of Party President/heads of the India Alliance will be scheduled in the third week of December at a date convenient to all.” 

Also Read | INDIA in poll-induced hibernation; joint rally plan remains in freeze

Absentees’ list

Apart from Ms. Banerjee, DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin also declined the December 6 invitation, citing the flood situation in the State. Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, too had prior engagements. The allies convinced the Congress to reschedule in order to avoid any further embarrassment because of the long list of absentees. 

The INDIA bloc allies have been deeply critical of the Congress for going solo in last month’s Assembly elections in five States, without engaging the allies in campaigning or even conceding the few seats they had asked for. The last meeting of the INDIA bloc was held on August 31 and September 1. And despite several allies insisting on the need to fix a seat-sharing formula for next year’s Lok Sabha poll, including Ms. Banerjee and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, no step has been taken in this direction. 

‘Need united front at Centre’

More trouble surfaced on Tuesday at the daily coordination committee meeting of the allies at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge’s office. According to sources, Communist Party of India (Marxist) floor leader Elamaram Kareem said that the differences between the parties at the State level should not be dragged to the Centre. “We may oppose each other in the State, but at the Centre, we must present a united front,” Mr. Kareem reportedly said.

He was speaking in the context of an adjournment notice given by Lok Sabha MP and Congress State president K. Sudhakaran decrying the law and order situation in Kerala. Mr. Kareem’s words, though, had little effect; minutes later, during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Jebi Mather raised the issue of a Kerala farmer’s suicide, allegedly because of an inordinate delay in payment of paddy dues by the CPI(M)-led State government. 

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.