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Rahul, Kharge to meet party officials of Assembly poll-bound states in bid to capitalise on growing support

The first meeting will be on June 24 with Jharkhand leaders followed by discussions with leaders from Maharashtra on June 25. Leaders from Haryana will be meeting the central leadership on June 26 while those from Jammu and Kashmir will be meeting on June 27.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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New Delhi: After its rejuvenating performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress is taking steps to consolidate its gains in Assembly poll-bound states by calling strategy meetings with senior leaders of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir next week.

Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal said party president Mallikarjun Kharge and top leader Rahul Gandhi will hold meetings with senior state leaders from June 24.

The first meeting will be on June 24 with Jharkhand leaders followed by discussions with leaders from Maharashtra on June 25. Leaders from Haryana will be meeting the central leadership on June 26 while those from Jammu and Kashmir will be meeting on June 27.

“Carrying forward the momentum in our favour, we are dedicated to ensuring a handsome victory in the upcoming state elections...Onward and upwards!” Venugopal posted on 'X' announcing the meeting schedule.

The BJP too has started its preparations for the Assembly polls by appointing senior union ministers and a chief minister as in-charges and co-incharges on Monday.

Congress and its allies have outperformed its NDA rivals in Maharashtra while it improved its standings in Haryana and Jharkhand and retained some ground in Jammu and Kashmir during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

In Maharashtra, the Congress is heading into seat sharing negotiations with its Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies Shiv Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) after becoming the largest party in the state in terms of Lok Sabha seats. Congress won 13 seats in the state while Shiv Sena (UBT) won nine and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) eight after reducing BJP to nine.

Congress believes that its bargaining power has increased with its rise in strength in the Lok Sabha even as the party’s central leadership has advised the state unit not to rock the boat with unreasonable demands. In a recent MVA meeting, all partners have decided to fight together. The June 25 meeting is expected to outline Congress’ strategy for the state.

The meeting on Haryana, where Congress and BJP shared five each seats, will discuss whether to negotiate with the AAP for extending its alliance in Lok Sabha polls to the Assembly elections though the Bhupinder Hooda-dominated state unit is learnt to be against any alliance. They cite the Congress and AAP's performances in the Lok Sabha to buttress their argument against going into an alliance.

The Congress has already created some trouble for the ruling BJP by weaning away independents supporting the government. BJP also had an acrimonious political divorce with its ally JJP.

Jharkhand is one state where an alliance involving Congress is in power and looking to retain power. While the alliance leader JMM had managed to win three seats in Lok Sabha, Congress has won two seats and the BJP eight and its ally AJSU one. JMM and Congress are hoping to cash in on the incarceration of former Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

Congress is also leaving no stone unturned in Jammu and Kashmir where the Assembly election is expected to be held before September 30 as per a Supreme Court order. It is to be seen whether PDP would be back in the alliance for the state polls.

2019 Assembly elections

Maharashtra

BJP: 105

Shiv Sena: 56*

NCP: 54*

Congress: 44

*Both parties were vertically split

Haryana

BJP: 40

Congress: 31

JJP: 10

INLD: 1

Jharkhand

JMM: 30

BJP: 25

Congress: 16

JVM: 3

AJSU : 2

RJD: 1

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Published 18 June 2024, 10:45 IST

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