Has the TMC’s approach to national politics changed since your United India rally, where leaders from 23 parties took part?
All the national parties have reached a consensus against Modi’s divisive politics. Regional parties have come together, which is a great sign for the country. We have found a purpose now, which is to take along all regional parties and fight against the BJP-led NDA government. This will accelerate once the election is announced.
As we all saw, on January 19, 23 political parties came together after our leader Mamata Banerjee gave a call. Later, we participated in meetings held in Delhi and Arvind Kejriwal organised a dharna. All this shows that regional parties… are playing a pivotal role in bringing all anti-BJP parties together.
What will be TMC’s role in national politics?
TMC will continue to play an important role, commensurate with the strength it has in the Lok Sabha. Our party chief has announced that TMC will contest from other states as well. TMC will continue to act as a focus for all anti-BJP parties to come together.
Do you see the Congress being part of this alliance of Opposition parties, especially after its success in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh?
Mamata Banerjee always wanted all anti-BJP parties to come together. She wants to unite them. In our United India rally on January 19, Congress leaders were present. Congress sent its representatives for Arvind Kejriwal’s rally. We have no issues being on the same platform with the Congress. In the state, there can be other compulsions which will be dealt with by our party leadership. But in national politics, we are all united against the BJP.
The grand alliance of Opposition parties is often criticised for having too many prime ministerial candidates.
The discussion on who the next PM should be will be held after the declaration of election results. Those who are attacking us for having too many prime ministerial candidates are doing it to disrupt Opposition unity. They will not succeed.
Is the TMC worried about the BJP gaining in strength in West Bengal?
The BJP had 10 per cent vote share in West Bengal; now they have increased it to some extent. This is mainly due to the fact that the CPM, which was once the principal party here, has weakened to a great extent. As a result, the BJP has filled the Opposition space. Still, there is a huge gap in terms of vote share between the TMC and BJP.
How do you think the BJP is gaining ground in West Bengal?
The BJP is attempting divisive politics. They are highlighting communal issues, which are influencing a small section of people. However, if you look at the larger picture, the impact of this kind of politics is marginal. Bengal will not be wooed with such divisive politics. Here people are with Mamata Banerjee.
However, there have been allegations of large-scale political violence in West Bengal and fingers were pointed at the TMC. How will the party combat this?
BJP is indulging in violence in West Bengal. The impact of political violence will be marginal.
Do you think the political narrative will change after the Pulwama attack?
Modi’s prospects are gone. He will not get the majority. He is trying all possible tricks to save himself, including rabble-rousing over the Pulwama attack. The entire nation has responded to the attack and condemned it. Under such circumstances, Modi will not be able to reap political dividends (out of the attack).