West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is camping in Delhi and trying to mobilise like-minded parties to form an anti-BJP federal front, on Wednesday called for unity among all regional forces and insisted that there should be a one-on-one fight to dethrone the saffron party in 2019.
Mamata met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the evening and discussed with her about a united fight against the BJP. “Whenever I come here I meet her, we share a good relation. I enquired about her health. We also had a political discussion. I said that the country wants it to be one-is-to-one in 2019,” ANI quoted Mamata as saying after her meeting with Gandhi.
“We want Congress to help the regional parties’ front that is being talked about, so as to facilitate a one-is-to-one fight. This one-is-to-one fight will eliminate BJP politically,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief added.
“We want the Congress to win Karnataka because the Congress is strong there,” she added. Banerjee said she also discussed with Gandhi the talks that she has been holding with the leaders of regional parties. “We are trying to work together…We want the Congress also to be part of that,” she said.
The West Bengal CM also met her Delhi counterpart and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal and got the backing of disgruntled BJP leaders Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie to her efforts to forge a broad coalition of forces for one-to-one fight with the BJP in the 2019 General Assembly elections.
While Kejriwal, who met Banerjee for about half-an-hour, did not speak to the media, the BJP rebels expressed their support for her endeavours. Shourie, who has been critical of the incumbent government at the Centre, said Mamata’s theory of putting up a one-on-one fight against the BJP in every state was the right path to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If the one-on-one formula is implemented, the opposition will be able to corner 69 per cent of votes,” Shourie said.
Though Yashwant Sinha did not clarify on whether he or Shatrughan Sinha would join a united force against the BJP, he said, “Mamata is our old cabinet colleague. Her personality is known to everyone. The role she has taken to save the country is appreciable. In future also, we will support her.”
Banerjee, who arrived in Delhi on Monday, had met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sharad Pawar and MPs of BJP’s ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday. She had also met Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha and Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti besides MPs from Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and DMK.
The West Bengal CM has also expressed her willingness to have a tete-a-tete with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati if the leaders invite her for a meeting to Lucknow.
However, the BJP targeted the TMC supremo over the incidents of violence during Ram Navami processions in West Bengal, saying while her state was “burning”, she was “doing politics” in the national capital. “Bengal is burning and Mamata is doing politics in Delhi. It is like Nero fiddled while Rome was burning,” BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
(with inputs from agencies)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines