INDIA bloc leaders meet to discuss strategy for counting of votes, TMC and PDP skip

Mamata Banerjee, TMC chief and West Bengal CM, cited elections for her absence. Mehbooba Mufti, PDP chief, didn't attend due to personal reasons.
INDIA bloc leaders at Kharge's residence
INDIA bloc leaders at Kharge's residenceScreengrab from video posted on X by Delhi Congress

NEW DELHI: Senior leaders of the INDIA bloc met here on Saturday to discuss their strategy for the counting of votes on June 4, even as the TMC and PDP skipped the meeting.

Senior leaders of the Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI-M, CPI, DMK, JMM, AAP, RJD, Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharad Pawar) met at Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge's residence on Saturday afternoon and held discussions, even as the last phase of polling was underway.

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had already said they would not attend the meeting as there were elections in the state, while PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti did not attend the meeting due to personal reasons.

"I may not go as my mom has undergone an eye surgery," she had told PTI.

Opposition leaders who attended the meeting included Sharad Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Anil Desai, Sitaram Yechury, Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwat Mann, Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha, Champai Soren, Kalpana Soren, T R Baalu, Farooq Abdullah, D Raja and Mukesh Sahani.

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and K C Venugopal were also present at the meeting.

"June 4th will mark the beginning of a new dawn for India. In today's meeting of INDIA bloc leaders, DMK will be represented by our party Treasurer and leader of DMK's Parliamentary Party, Thiru.T.R.Baalu avl," DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin had said in a post on 'X.'

Kharge had earlier said this was an informal meeting where they would only discuss what kind of preparations they should have on the day of counting and how people should be alert, whether it is about the EVMs or the use of Form 17C.

The meeting was only for discussing the counting preparations and the Congress has already told its state units to be alert about Form 17C, he had said.

The seventh and last phase of Lok Sabha elections is underway on Saturday, including in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

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