Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge (L) and former President Sonia Gandhi (R) (File).
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge has called for the next meeting of the INDIA opposition bloc to be held in Delhi on Wednesday, sources said this morning. The meeting is expected to chalk out plans for next year's Lok Sabha election. The news comes as it was handed big defeats by the BJP in two states it held - Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh - and a third - Madhya Pradesh - it was "very confident" of flipping.
There was some consolation though; the Congress has defeated the BRS in Telangana.
READ | Telangana Solace For Congress As It Loses 3 States
The date of the next meeting also comes amid speculation over INDIA's future amid talk of internal rifts that were highlighted earlier this month after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) is a founding member, blamed the Congress for lack of prep for the 2024 general election.
READ | "Not Much Progress In INDIA, Congress More Interested In...": Nitish Kumar
"We have been speaking to them... pushing them forward in INDIA alliance. But, of late, there has not been much progress on that front. The Congress seems to be more interested in the five assembly polls. We agreed to assign Congress the leading role. But it appears they will call the next meeting only after they are through with the state elections," he had said.
The last meet was on August 31-September 1 in Mumbai. The Congress was to set the next date.
INDIA had then said it planned to contest the 2024 election, and this month's state polls, "together as far as possible". The wording of the resolution, however, raised eyebrows and spawned questions, specifically the kind INDIA was to answer - how united, really, is the opposition as it bids to prevent Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP from claiming an unprecedented third term next year.
Significantly, Nitish Kumar's comment also came after a squabble between the Congress and another INDIA member - the Samajwadi Party - over seat-sharing in Madhya Pradesh. Akhilesh Yadav claimed a gentleman's agreement was ignored. "If I knew, wouldn't have spoken to Congress," he said.
READ | INDIA Alliance Remains, Akhilesh Yadav Tells NDTV Amid Signs Of Strain
Mr Yadav later downplayed the fight, telling NDTV he remains part of INDIA.
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