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Walk extra mile at INDIA bloc’s Dec 19 meeting

New Delhi: Jolted by defeats in three key Hindi-belt states, the Congress leadership is now keen to show pragmatism and flexibility in persuading the INDIA bloc partners at their December 19 meeting here to make demonstrative movement in constructive seat-sharing talks, exploring common agenda and joint rallies as preparation for the Lok Sabha polls, people aware of the discussions said. While the AICC, after consultations with allies, on Sunday formally announced the date of the fourth INDIA meeting, the Congress functionaries have made extra efforts to humour the SP and JDU leaderships whom the GoP had refused to accommodate in the assembly polls.

These efforts came after the allies recently rejected the AICC unilaterally calling an INDIA meeting on December 6. Adding to the AICC’s sensitivity is the fact some JDU and Trinamool functionaries have pitched for leadership roles of Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee, respectively, and that some regional biggies could seek convenorship of the alliance. The AICC had halted the INDIA meet ahead of the recent state polls, hoping for a good poll show.

While the DMK remains a valuable partner of Congress, the AICC is learnt to have reached out to the leadership of the Tamil Nadu ally to persuade its functionaries to show restraint and consider the sensitivity of the larger alliance while making statements. The AICC, having once been pushed to the receiving end of BJP’s attacks after the DMK functionaries made contentious comments on Sanatana Dharma, did seek out the DMK leadership after its MP triggered a row with his ‘gaumutra states’ remark  ..

Unity Mantra in States
While the AICC will make mandatory appointments of CLP leaders and some posts in the three poll-defeated states, the leadership’s priority will be to ensure and preserve the larger unity, rather than creating new rifts with head-hunting in these states’ party units, given the high command’s high stakes in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.



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