Cong Leaders Still Insist Bargaining Power Of Party Not Dented By Poll Losses


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) Even though the Congress lost the recent Assembly elections in the three Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, party leaders say that the debacle has not dented the grand old party's prospects and bargaining power for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in the INDIA bloc.

According to a senior party leader, who did not wish to be named, "The results of the three states are no doubt disheartening but it does not prove that the Congress has been wiped out."

He said that the Congress still remains the main force against the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and the grand old party has a presence in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where the regional parties have no foothold.

When reminded that the Congress is in power only in Himachal Pradesh in northern India and in Jharkhand and Bihar it is in alliance with regional partners, the party leader said,“There is no doubt that we have to contest election in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh in alliance as regional parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Samajwadi Party are strong there.”

A party source also echoed the leader's sentiments and said, "We have to accept the ground reality that the regional parties are strong in these states and the Congress needs to get their support."

However, the source added that after Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, the presence of the Congress is in all other states and in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in particular it is the main opponent of the BJP.

The source said that the party presents a direct threat to the BJP in North India and it will definitely give it a challenge.

The source said that when seat sharing talks begin for the states in the INDIA bloc, the results of the recent Assembly polls will have no effect on the grand old party's bargaining power.

Another party leader, meanwhile, said that dealing with the AAP and the Samajwadi Party would not be easy given the rocky relations in the last few months.

The party leader said that the AAP, which is in power in Delhi and Punjab, will have to come to a consensus on the seats in these two states.

The leader said that the Congress has been the main party in Punjab against the AAP, while in Delhi besides the AAP it also has to face the BJP which had won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national Capital.

The party leader further said that all the issues between the alliance partners will be discussed during the seat sharing talks.

On Wednesday evening, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge chaired a meeting with the INDIA bloc floor leaders and it was decided to call the next meeting of the alliance in the third week of December to chalk out the strategy for 2024 and initiate the talks for seat sharing.

After the third meeting of the INDIA bloc in Mumbai on August 31 and September 1, it announced that it would form a 14 member coordination committee and 19-member Election Strategy Committee to take on the BJP in the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The INDIA bloc's 14-member coordination committee is constituted of the Congress' KC Venugopal, the NCP's Sharad Pawar, the DMK's TR Baalu, JMM's Hemant Soren, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, the RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, the Trinamool Congress' Abhishek Banerjee, the AAP's Raghav Chaddha, Samajwadi Party's Javed Ali Khan, the JD(U)'s Lallan Singh, the CPI's D Raja, the National Conference's Omar Abdullah and the PDP's Mehbooba Mufti. The CPI(M) will give the name of their party leader for the committee later.

The alliance's campaign committee comprises of the Congress' Gurdeep Singh Sappal, the JD(U)'s Sanjay Jha, the Shiv Sena's Anil Desai, the RJD's Sanjay Yadav, the NCP's PC Chako, JMM's Champai Soren, Samajwadi Party's Kiranmoy Nanda, AAP's Sanjay Singh, CPI(M)'s Arun Kumar, CPI's Binoy Vishwam, National Conference's Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi, RLD's Shahid Siddiqui, RSP's NK Premachandran, AIFB's G Devarajan, CPI-ML's Ravi Rai, the VCK's Thirumavalavan, the IUML's KM Kadar Moidin, KC(M)'s Jose K Mani as its members. The TMC is yet to give a name for the panel.

--IANS

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