Mamata Rallies Non-NDA Parties, Meets Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut Too
The West Bengal chief minister is in Delhi on a four-day visit.
Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, 27 March pitched for the formation of a "Federal Front" excluding the Congress to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with a "one-to-one" fight in the states.
The Trinamool Congress chief spent a packed day – with meetings with Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, and leaders of other regional parties, including the Telugu Desam Party, the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, and the Biju Janata Dal.
“When political people meet then, of course, they will discuss politics, there is nothing to hide in that. The Lok Sabha election of 2019 will certainly be very interesting.”Mamata Banerjee to ANI
Mamata Meets Sharad Pawar in Parliament
Banerjee on Tuesday had an hour-long meeting with Sharad Pawar and other NCP leaders at his office in Parliament. Pawar had earlier denied that a meeting over dinner with opposition parties was scheduled.
"There is no meeting, there is no dinner," Pawar had said in response to a query on whether there will be a dinner meeting with the West Bengal chief minister.
According to a senior NCP leader, Banerjee favoured forming a "federal front" to defeat the BJP without involving the Congress.
"She said that a non-Congress federal front should be formed to take on the BJP in the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections. She feels that if the Congress becomes a part of the opposition front, then many parties like the BJD, TDP would not join the alliance. But she urged the NCP leader to also speak to other opposition parties to know their views," NCP leader said.
Later, NCP leader Praful Patel, while briefing the media on the meeting, said that both the leaders agreed that there should be "maximum unity" among opposition parties to take on the BJP.
What the leaders discussed was that opposition unity should be maximum as has been witnessed in Uttar Pradesh where the BSP and the SP have started working together and therefore it is important that political differences among opposition should be resolved.Praful Patel
All opposition parties should work together. It should be a one-to-one fight against the BJP. All opposition parties should help the strongest one in the state against the BJP.Mamata Banerjee
On the issue of opposition unity, Banerjee hailed the alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh and said that all opposition parties should come together to help the alliance.
Sources told The Quint that Mamata wants to lead the front even if the Congress joins the Federal Front, she does not want to let go of the important role she could hold in a non-Congress front. Pawar is the only leader who holds good relations with the two camps. They believe that non-Congress-non-BJP Front will disperse opposition unity in the affair.
The West Bengal chief minister has met Sharad Pawar on several occasions in the past six months. She has also met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, NDTV reported.
She had also met Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao last week. Rao too is looking to build a non-Congress, non-BJP federal front.
Mamata to Meet Sonia Gandhi, Akhilesh, Mayawati?
On this visit, Banerjee is expected to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Although the meeting is said to be a personal visit, it is being said that the meeting could work towards burying differences between the two parties.
“Yes, Sonia ji is unwell right now and recovering. I will meet her once she is fine,” she said.
Whether she meets Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will be a decisive factor if she is willing to form a federal front with Congress, said sources to The Quint.
She also said that she would like to meet Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati if they call for a meeting.
Tomorrow, I will meet Shatrughan Sinha ji, Yashwant Sinha ji, and Arun Shourie ji. I will certainly go if they (Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav) call us for a meeting to Lucknow.Mamata Banerjee to ANI
Mamata on Karnataka Elections, No-Confidence Motion
Talking about the Karnataka elections, Banerjee said, "I want the Congress to go with Deve Gowda in Karnataka, but that’s the party’s decision".
At the same time, she slammed the ruling BJP government for not taking up the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.
This government is in the process of winding up. The BJP is scared many of their own MPs will not vote.Mamata Banerjee to The Indian Express
Sanjay Raut Denies Shiv Sena Joining Any Front
Banerjee’s meeting with Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut along with other Sena members of Parliament triggered speculations in the political circle. The Sena, though a part of the ruling NDA, has been critical of Maharashtra and central governments.
However, Raut denied that Shiv Sena was joining any front but said that the Shiv Sena and Banerjee have "a very warm" relationship and there were certain things which Banerjee wanted to convey to Uddhav Thackeray.
Banerjee later said that she "respects" Shiv Sena.
At least it does not do politics with a gun in their hand. There is no party more communal than the BJP.Mamata Banerjee
(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)
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