28 March, 2018
Efforts to build an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2019 general elections are expected to gather pace with West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) president Mamata Banerjee beginning meetings with opposition leaders in the capital Tuesday.
On her inability to meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, the Trinamool chief said they will meet once the Chairperson on Congress Parliamentary party recovers from her ill health. "I think the most wonderful development is in Uttar Pradesh where Mayawatiji and Akhilesh Yadav have come together", she said.
Banerjee is now on a four-day visit to Delhi.
"She said that a non-Congress federal front should be formed to take on the BJP in the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections".
Mamata also said she would like to meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi before leaving for Kolkata if there is an opportunity as she is not keeping well.
Besides Pawar, who has called the meeting, she will also meet Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, representatives of Shiv Sena, TDP among others. "It should be one fight".
China 'warns off' U.S. destroyer in South China Sea
Navy conducted its first so-called freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the disputed South China Sea since January. China has territorial claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, which has put it at odds with its neighbors.
"The Congress needs to adjust", she remarked and hoped that both the parties will be together in future. "I was a part of that government, even now there are some good people but they are sidelined". Issues like demonetization, GST, bank fraud have affected people even at the grassroot level.
Talking to reporters after her meeting with the NCP chief, the West Bengal Chief Minister said, "when political leaders meet, they do discuss politics". However, it was not clear whether she will also meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi. "We celebrate all kinds of festivals and rituals starting from Durga Puja to Ramadan and Christmas but always maintain peace and harmony", she claimed. "Let us approach other political parties", Mamata had said at that time.
TMC sources told ThePrint that, after the meetings in Delhi, Mamata will try to reach out to regional parties such as the TDP, a former BJP ally, and the BJD in order to explore the possibility of getting them on board the idea.
"This is a result of the competitive communalism that is being practiced by TMC and BJP in Bengal in order to create communal polarization", he said adding that the TMC is pursuing the politics of appeasement of minorities and the trying to fan majority communalism.
Mamata also met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP and Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti and senior party leader JP Yadav.
Following her meeting with NCP and RJD leaders, Mamata said the "Lok Sabha elections of 2019 will certainly be interesting".