Union home minister Amit Shah will chair the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting in Patna on December 10.
However, there are doubts over the presence of the chief ministers of the four member states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bengal. None of them is from the BJP or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar did not attend the last EZC meeting, held in Calcutta on December 17, 2022, on the grounds that he was unwell and had sent deputy chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to represent the state in his absence.
Nitish has been at the forefront of the efforts to bring the Opposition on one platform to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after quitting the NDA in August last year. They resulted in the formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the three Opposition meetings, including the two of INDIA, at Patna, Bangalore and Mumbai to stress the need for the non-BJP, non-NDA parties to contest the next general elections in a united manner.
The same holds true for Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is neither with the NDA nor INDIA.
Nitish has not attended any meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Union home minister Shah ever since leaving the NDA, barring the G20 Summit dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu.