Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday met AIUDF chief and general secretary of West Bengal unit of Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, in what is being touted as first step towards forging an alliance for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
After the meeting that lasted over one-and-a-half hours, Chowdhury told The Indian Express that they mostly discussed the forthcoming Assembly elections. He claimed that Mamata told him that they (TMC and AIUDF) will have to fight unitedly against all communal forces to win the election.
“I have submitted a proposal about AIUDF sharing some seats with the TMC. There will be several rounds of talks before a consensus is reached,” Chowdhury said.
He, however, did not divulge the details about the number of seats he has demanded. Sources, meanwhile, said Chowdhury had initially demanded a sizeable number of seats for his party but later settled for only five.
Sources said that Mamata might announce the tie-up formally at TMC’s extended general council meeting on February 12 at Netaji Indoor Stadium. Mamata has invited Chowdhury to attend the general council.
Last year, Jamiat had organised a rally at the Shahid Minar Ground, which Mamata had attended. Addressing the over one-lakh strong gathering Mamata had come down heavily on the BJP while claiming to be a champion of the minority community.
Political experts had termed it as Mamata’s first attempt at winning over the minority votes. It was at the same rally that Chowdhury had first hinted about a possible tie-up with the TMC.