Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Yadav announced on Tuesday that the scheduled meeting of the opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) would now take place on December 17 instead of the initially planned Wednesday gathering.
The postponement was decided after key leaders, including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, opted not to attend. Sources from the Congress revealed that MK Stalin's inability to travel due to the closure of the Chennai airport amid Cyclone Michaung, Nitish Kumar's illness, and prior commitments from Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav were the reasons behind the leaders' absence.
Initially set for Wednesday, December 6, the Congress had called for the next meeting of INDIA partners in New Delhi. This gathering follows the BJP's significant victories in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh during the recent assembly elections, where the Congress faced defeat in two states. INDIA, a coalition of prominent political parties led by the Indian National Congress, was formed to challenge the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The alliance took shape during a meeting of opposition parties in Bengaluru in July 2023.
The previous opposition meeting, hosted by Shiv Sena (UBT) President Uddhav Thackeray, saw the attendance of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and chief ministers from five states. Over the two-day discussions, the alliance addressed key electoral issues for the upcoming general elections, established a coordination committee, and passed a three-point resolution to collectively contest the 2024 Indian general elections 'as far as possible.'