Lok Sabha Elections 2024: I.N.D.I.A. bloc will get over 295 seats, says Kharge after alliance meeting

Addressing reporters here after a meeting of top leaders of the opposition bloc at his residence here, Kharge said the leaders of the alliance met for about two and a half hours and discussed a host of issues, especially the precautions to be taken on counting day.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 01 June 2024, 13:26 IST
Last Updated : 01 June 2024, 13:26 IST

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New Delhi: The I.N.D.I.A bloc will get “nothing less than 295 seats” in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed on Saturday, as top Opposition leaders met here to finetune their strategy for the counting day on June 4.

The meeting was attended by 23 leaders from Congress, Samajwadi Party, RJD, AAP, NCP (Pawar), Shiv Sena (UBT), DMK, JMM, National Conference, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML)L and VIP. Leaders from Trinamool Congress, PDP and some smaller parties did not attend the meeting, citing pre-occupations.

During the meeting, sources said leaders first gave their assessment and numbers of particular states, which were later reconciled to arrive at the figure of 295. 

Sources said SP chief Akhilesh Yadav told the leaders that I.N.D.I.A bloc would get at least 40 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh while DMK's Baalu said all 40 seats in Tamil Nadu were going the Opposition's way. 

Congress leaders put 15 seats in Karnataka and 10 in Telangana while Tejashwi Yadav was confident about the bloc winning at least 20 seats in Bihar. Kejriwal told the meeting that the bloc was winning four seats in Delhi while Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said in Punjab and Chandigarh, AAP and Congress will win all 14 seats.

While Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Anil Desai gave 33 seats for the coalition in Maharashtra, sources said Sharad Pawar was conservative in his assessment giving 24-26 seats. In West Bengal, sources said Trinamool Congress and Congress-Left alliance could win around 30 while BJP could get only 12.

Kharge told reporters after their assessment was based on the feedback they received from people while the ruling BJP is trying to give a “narrative through government exit polls”.

“We are winning more than 295 seats. Nothing less than that...This is a survey of the people. The people have given this information to our leaders. The government surveys are there and their media friends also inflate figures and put it out…We want to tell you about the reality,” he said.

Echoing Kharge, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal said after the nearly two-hour-long meeting, which was held a day before his return to Tihar Jail with his interim bail ending, the BJP will get around 220 seats and NDA will get around 235 seats only.

Sources said a section of the leaders were of the view that the I.N.D.I.A bloc should publicise their assessment or otherwise the BJP could go to town with their own narrative, which could be detrimental to the interests of the bloc.

With Congress' decision not to take part in discussions on exit polls, which was reversed while the meeting was on, sources JMM's Kalpana Soren spoke about the need for taking part in such debates. CPI General Secretary D Raja said the "Modi media" would be able to “justify any manipulation” if the I.N.D.I.A bloc gives its own numbers and narrative.

After analysing the numbers and claims, sources said the leaders were of the opinion that the BJP getting more than 230 and the I.N.D.I.A getting less than 270 could mean that there was “electoral manipulation”.

Sources said the strategy for counting day was top on the meeting’s agenda with Tejwashwi recalling the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections and how things went to the wire in some constituencies where the RJD and its allies lost. Kharge said instructions will be given to workers of all allies not not to leave the counting hall till all formalities are over. 

Sources said the bloc is also planning to meet the Election Commission on Sunday before Kejriwal leaves for jail to raise the issues on counting day. 

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Published 01 June 2024, 13:26 IST

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