New Delhi: In a bid for third-front, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday met the Opposition leaders to forge a common front against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections meeting leaders including NCP chief Sharad Pawar and BJP’s ally Shiv Sena in a bid to ensure one-to-one contest against the ruling alliance throughout the country.
Banerjee, who has had a long innings in the Lok Sabha, visited Parliament house and also met leaders of other parties including Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha and Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti.
MPs from Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and DMK also met Banerjee. The Trinamool chief said she wanted to meet UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi but was told that she was not well.
Interestingly, Banerjee is meeting BJP rebels Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie on Wednesday. Talking to reporters, she pitched for Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party coming together in Uttar Pradesh and favoured the strongest party in each state taking the lead in taking on the BJP.
“We want to work together. We do not want anyone should be isolated. Everyone should work together. The party that is strong, it should do it (take the lead). If Mayawatiji and Akhilesh are strong in UP, they should work together. We should help them,” she said.
Banerjee also referred to her seniority as a political leader, saying she had been a MP seven times and has served as a union minister. “I know the country very well. I have visited all the states,” she said, adding that states have their own identity and compulsions.
Referring to parties like the DMK, TDP and TRS led by Telangana Chief Minister Rao, Lalu Prasad’s RJD in Bihar and Naveen Patnaik in Odisha, she said each party has to be helped to get together against BJP.
“We should find such a mechanism that it is one is to one (fight),” she said and added that Pawar was also of the same opinion. Asked about her meeting with Shiv Sena MPs, she said “no party is more communal than the BJP in the country”.
“They (Shiv Sena) talk of Hindutva but do not indulge in violence. They (BJP) do Hindutva carrying pistol. They bring bad name to Hindutva,” she said. Banerjee described Tuesday’s meetings as informal and said she would be meeting some others on Wednesday.
“Informal meeting has been done. All parties came and we discussed. There are some other parties also tomorrow we will talk. Tomorrow, I will meet Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie. They will be coming to my house. That meeting has also been fixed for tomorrow,” she said.
Asked whether she will meet Rahul Gandhi, Banerjee said: “I have already said about Sonia… Rahul also SMSs and we talk. There is no problem.”