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Congress to formally start seat-sharing talks with allies next week; alliance committee holds meetings

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NEW DELHI, Dec 29: Congress’s National Alliance Committee, set up to facilitate seat-sharing talks with allies, will hold meetings with party leaders from the states here on Friday and Saturday, and the negotiations with the allies will formally start next week after the panel submits a report to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge.

With the clock ticking for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and preparations taking shape for the party’s “Bharat Nyay Yatra”, the Congress, which sounded its poll bugle at a rally in Nagpur on Thursday, is set to hold a series of high-level meetings.

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According to sources, Kharge held an interaction with the Congress general secretaries in-charge of all states after the rally at Nagpur on Thursday evening and discussed the upcoming polls and organisational issues.

The five-member National Alliance Committee of the Congress is scheduled to hold meetings on Friday and Saturday with leaders from the states where the party is likely to contest the general election in an alliance with other INDIA bloc constituents.

The committee will then submit a report to the party president, providing details for the negotiation, including listing out the seats where the Congress is in a strong position.

The sources added that while in some states, talks with the allies have already started at the local level, the negotiations will formally start next week, after the report is presented. They also said while the equations with other parties may differ in states, the final call on the alliance will be taken from a “national perspective”.

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The committee formed last week is headed by senior Congress leader Mukul Wasnik and has Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Salman Khurshid and Mohan Prakash as its members.

The first meeting of the party’s manifesto committee for the general election, headed by former Union minister P Chidambaran, is scheduled to be held on January 4.

Kharge, along with former party chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary K C Venugopal, held a series of meetings with state Congress chiefs and other leaders over the last few days. While broad discussions were held on forming alliances, the meetings largely focused on organisational matters and the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls.

Another meeting will be held on January 4 with party leaders, including Congress chiefs and legislative party leaders from the states through which the “Bharat Nyay Yatra” will pass. The final route of the march will be decided at the meeting.

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The detailed route of the yatra will be announced on January 8 while a theme song will be released on January 12.

The sources said the yatris will cover around 120 kilometres a day, including around five to seven km on foot.

A number of public meetings and interactive sessions with locals and marginalised groups have been planned during the yatra.

The “Bharat Nyay Yatra” led by Gandhi will start from Manipur in the east on January 14 and conclude in Mumbai in western India in March. It will cover 14 states and 85 districts.

The march will traverse through Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Leaders from other INDIA bloc parties are also expected to join the yatra, though the plans are yet to be finalised. (PTI)


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