TMC to skip INDIA bloc meet in Delhi on June 1, cites Phase-7 poll and cyclone | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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TMC to skip INDIA bloc meet in Delhi on June 1, cites Phase-7 poll and cyclone

May 27, 2024 08:43 PM IST

The INDIA bloc meeting has been called to form a strategy on the exit polls and related issues and to take stock of the overall polling

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), the second-largest constituent of the INDIA bloc, is set to skip the upcoming meeting of the alliance in Delhi on June 1, senior leaders of the West Bengal-based party said on Monday.

West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. (HT photo/Samir Jana)
West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. (HT photo/Samir Jana)

According to two senior INDIA leaders, the meeting has been called to form a strategy on the exit polls and related issue. The leaders are also expected to take stock of the overall polling. TMC leaders also suggested that if the meeting is held on June 2 or 3, the TMC might consider coming to Delhi for the meeting.

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At a poll rally, West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said, “They called a meeting on June 1 itself. But I have told them I can’t join the meeting. We have polling in nine seats on June 1. Punjab and UP too, have their elections. Polling is also due in Bihar. Those who stand in the queue for polling at 6pm, they are able to cast their votes at 10pm. How can we leave (the polling) and go. On the other hand, we have cyclone.”

Referring to the tropical cyclone Remal that has hit parts of Bengal on Sunday, Banerjee said, “We are doing a meeting here, but my heart is with the affected people. We have to help them...give them new shelter, food.”

A senior TMC leader, who has been involved in the back-channel negotiations between the allies since the formation of the Opposition bloc, pointed out that the nine seats going to poll are crucial for the TMC. “We have an important election in Phase-7. Nine seats are going to polls; it is more than any other phase in Bengal. All Kolkata and greater Kolkata seats; we had won all nine in 2019.”

The INDIA bloc had organised four meetings in the past starting with the one in Patna on June 23. It also met in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi to shape up its poll strategy and give a push to seat adjustment. Banerjee had offered Congress two seats (the seats held by the Congress) for an alliance in Bengal.

In February, Banerjee announced she will go solo in Bengal. Later, the Congress formed a seat pact with the Left parties. Amid speculations about her position in the INDIA bloc, Banerjee said at a rally that her party will join the INDIA government if the bloc comes to power.

Another TMC leader pointed out that Mamata Banerjee, the party’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and its Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien—the three leaders who participated in the previous four INDIA meetings — have to cast their polls and would be busy in election management.

However, a Congress strategist involved in the negotiations with the INDIA allies, said, “We want all allies to participate in the meeting. Otherwise, it won’t send the correct political signal.”

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