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Cong high-command discusses LS poll strategy with leaders from Andhra Pradesh, HP

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New Delhi, Dec 27 (PTI) Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said on Wednesday that the ground situation in Andhra Pradesh has changed after the recent poll results in Telangana and Karnataka, where his party emerged victorious, and expressed confidence that it will improve its tally in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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Kharge said this during a meeting he held with Congress leaders from the southern state to discuss the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls.

The Congress chief also held a meeting with party leaders from Himachal Pradesh, including Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.  Both meetings were attended by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the party's general secretary (organisation), K C Venugopal, besides the state unit chiefs and general secretaries in-charge for the states.

The Congress high-command has been holding deliberations with party leaders from different states as the opposition INDIA bloc focuses on finalising seat-sharing agreements with months to go for the general election.

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Taking to X, Kharge said it was an important strategy meeting with the leaders from Andhra Pradesh where the participants shared their thoughts on strengthening the party for the parliamentary polls.

"Everyone believes that ground situation has drastically changed after government formation in Karnataka and Telangana. Every leader and worker is going to work hard and re-establish the bond which the people of Andhra Pradesh once shared with the Congress party," he said on the microblogging platform.

Talking to reporters, Congress's Andhra Pradesh in-charge Manickam Tagore said the meeting went on for more than two hours and the party's plans for the Lok Sabha election as well as the state Assembly polls were discussed.

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"We invite all voices who believe in the Congress's ideology to join the party to rebuild Andhra Pradesh, a dream which got lost because of the (Narendra) Modi government's discrimination. Unkept promises of the Centre in the last 10 years have destroyed Andhra Pradesh's development. The Congress is ready to fight the battle of 2024," Tagore said.

Asked if the party will go for an alliance in the southern state for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, he said a decision in this regard will be taken by the top leadership.

Tagore also said seat sharing was not discussed at the meeting, which was attended by state Congress president G R Raju and former Union minister M M Pallam Raju, among others.

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Andhra Pradesh has 25 Lok Sabha seats, of which 22 are with the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) holds the remaining three seats. The YSRCP is also in power in the state and has 147 of the 175 MLAs in the Assembly.

Regarding Himachal Pradesh, Kharge said the BJP-led Centre ignored the repeated pleas of the state government and MPs to declare the devastating floods in the hill state a national calamity.

In a post on X, he said the meeting with senior Congress leaders from Himachal Pradesh was held in the context of preparations for the Lok Sabha polls.

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Mentioning the heavy rain and flash floods in the state during monsoon, Kharge said, "Our Himachal government, despite the terrible natural tragedy, is working in public interest with full dedication." "Despite our repeated requests to the Modi government at the Centre to declare the heavy rain and landslides in Himachal Pradesh as a national disaster and provide appropriate funds, the central government and the BJP Lok Sabha MPs showed no interest in providing compensation for Himachal Pradesh," he added.

The Congress chief said his party has mobilised all resources to help the people of the hill state.

Sukhu said the entire state leadership expressed confidence that the Congress is in a position to win all the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh.

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"There are four seats in Himachal Pradesh and the Congress is strong on all four," the chief minister told reporters after the meeting.

Besides Sukhu, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajiv Shukla, state party chief Pratibha Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri and AICC secretary Tajinder Singh Bittu attended the meeting.

The BJP holds three of the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh, while the Congress has one. PTI AO RC

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