Mamata Banerjee, who has not been included in the recently formed “third front” of non-Congress, non-BJP parties, dismisses that alliance as “tired front”. The Trinamool Congress chief is confident “a different kind of federal front” will rule the country. She rules out allying with the Congress, the BJP or the Left, and keeps open the question of being a candidate for prime minister. Excerpts from an interview she gave by email to PTI, as quoted by that agency:
On the coming together of 11 parties:
No matter. Any force with the communists in it is not viable because the people have rejected the CPM. So… it is not a third front, it is tired front.
On whether she feels left out since she isn’t in the alliance:
Nothing like that….any front of significance (including Trinamool) will come together only after the results are announced… We are hopeful that a federal front government will lead this nation.
On who her allies could be after the elections:
Making empty noises now is one thing. It is not important. What is important is to come to Delhi in May with many dozens of Lok Sabha seats.
On whether she is a candidate for the prime minister’s chair:
Throughout my three decades of struggle, people have always been my motivation and inspiration, not kursis… I have experience of working at the Centre, I have also experience of working in a state. In a democracy, people will decide.
On the two principal rivals:
The Congress is not the alternative to the BJP, and the BJP is not the alternative to the Congress… People are tired of corruption. People are tired of dynasty…. People are tired of parties that encourage riots.
On allying with either party:
Let me make it very clear. We are fighting these elections against the Left, the Congress and the BJP.
On how she sees the Congress faring:
The Congress will get between 60 and 70 seats. The country is fed up with their anti-people policies. So where is the question of forgiving and forgetting?
And the BJP:
Close to 150-160.
On her priorities:
Our focus has been on developing Bengal so that the people reward us abundantly in the Lok Sabha elections.
On looking beyond Bengal:
As you know, we are the principal opposition party in Manipur and also have MLAs in Assam, Arunachal and UP. We have already announced that we are putting up candidates in Delhi, Jharkhand and some other states.