On a day the Congress accepted the writing on the wall and decided to postpone the INDIA alliance meeting it had unilaterally called for on Wednesday to the chagrin of allies, the Opposition on Tuesday was faced with another curveball thrown by one of its own.
DMK Lok Sabha member D.N.V. Senthilkumar referred to the Hindi belt states disparagingly, much to the discomfort of many in the Congress.
Though the reference was expunged by the Lok Sabha Speaker, it was picked up by several BJP leaders and used to target the INDIA alliance, linking it to DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s call for the eradication of Sanatan Dharma.
Senthilkumar apologised for his remark in a post on X. "Commenting on the results of the five recent state Assembly elections, I have used a word in an inappropriate way. Not using that term with any intent. I apologise for sending the wrong meaning across."
The inability of DMK’s M.K. Stalin to make it for Wednesday’s meeting called by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge owing to preoccupation with the state government’s response to the flood situation in the state is one of the reasons for the postponement.
Other party leaders who were unable to make it to the meeting on Wednesday included Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Besides Stalin, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren is also understood to have sought a change in the date. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is unwell.
It was decided that a meeting of the parliamentary party leaders will be held at Kharge’s house on Wednesday and the party leaders' meeting will be postponed to the third week of December.
"A coordination meeting of parliamentary party leaders of INDIA alliance will be at 6pm on December 6 at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. Thereafter, a meeting of party presidents/ heads of the alliance will be scheduled in the third week of December at a date convenient to all," announced Gurdeep Singh Sappal, coordinator in the Congress president’s office.