In a bid to pitch for a ‘Federal Front’ ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday announced that the TMC would organise a meeting of opposition leaders in Kolkata in December this year. However, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury ruled out the possibility of a grand Opposition alliance at the national level before next year’s elections.
Addressing reporters in Siliguri, Mamata said, “We are planning to hold a meeting of opposition parties at the Brigade Parade ground in December where we will invite opposition leaders from across the country. It will be a mega rally where many parties will be present. We cannot do it now as monsoon has set in…we will do it later this year.”
The TMC chief has often spoken in favour of a ‘Federal Front’ to oust the BJP-led NDA government from power and has held talks with regional party leaders in this regard.
However, the CPM said such an alliance can only be forged after the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are announced.
“…In India, it is not possible for any grand alliance to be formed before the polls… This time also, you will see the same thing that had happened in 1996, when a United Front government was formed and in 2004, when the UPA-1 government was installed,” Yechury said.
The CPM Politburo member was of the view that regional secular forces too will come together after the 2019 general elections. “It is not just opposition leaders talking about an alliance. It is the demand of their followers and the masses who want this anti-people government to go, that is forcing parties to come together,” said Yechury.
On whether CPM would join the proposed Federal Front if TMC is part of it, Yechury said, “TMC and BJP have a covert understanding and TMC doesn’t have the credibility to fight the BJP. Our slogan is ‘oust Modi government to save India, and oust TMC government to save Bengal’.”
On Mamata’s proposal for a meeting of opposition leaders, Yechury said, “Nobody trusts a party which itself murdered democracy in the state… What happened in the panchayat polls in naked daylight is the murder of democracy in the state…”