Mamata to skip INDIA bloc leaders’ 1 June meet to assess Lok Sabha poll performance

TMC withdrew from the INDIA bloc in West Bengal in January but affirmed its commitment to remain part of the alliance at the national level.

ByPTI

Published May 28, 2024 | 10:51 AMUpdatedMay 28, 2024 | 10:51 AM

INDIA bloc meeting

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

However, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday, 27 May said she will not attend the meeting due to the last phase of Lok Sabha polls and ongoing relief work after Cyclone ‘Remal’ hit the state’s coastal regions.

According to sources, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has convened a meeting of the INDIA bloc leaders in the afternoon of 1 June,  coinciding with the last round of polling.

Addressing an election rally in Kolkata, Banerjee mentioned her inability to attend the INDIA bloc meeting due to the scheduled elections in the state on that day.

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Final phase of elections and Cyclone Remal

“The INDIA bloc meeting has been fixed on 1 June. But I have already said I can’t go on as there is an election in our state on that day. So far I know there are elections in Punjab, UP, and Bihar. Voting will continue till 6 pm, and at times it extends beyond that (6 pm),” she said.

Voting will take place on nine seats in West Bengal on 1 June, including two seats in Kolkata – Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar. The other constituencies that go to polls in the state include Jadavpur, Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jayanagar, Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour.

West Bengal CM highlighted the dual challenges of post-cyclone relief work and ongoing elections, emphasising her priority towards relief efforts.

“How can I leave everything behind and go? My priority is relief work. Even if I am holding a meeting here, my heart goes out to those people (affected by the cyclone),” she said at the Kolkata rally.

Cyclone Remal, with wind speed reaching 135 kmph, claimed four lives in West Bengal and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and property in the state’s coastal areas as it tore through West Bengal and Bangladesh, officials reported on Monday.

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TMC is part of INDIA bloc at national level

The TMC had withdrawn from the INDIA bloc in West Bengal in January but affirmed its commitment to remain part of the opposition alliance at the national level.

During the election campaigns in the last two months, Banerjee had expressed confidence that the INDIA bloc would win the Lok Sabha elections and affirmed her involvement in the anti-BJP alliance at the national level.

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

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

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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