Nitish, Navin keen on federal front, says Mamata

Two days after urging all non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regional parties to form a federal front for next year’s Lok Sabha polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said she has spoken to her Bihar and Odisha counterparts who have reacted positively to her proposal.

Banerjee, Trinamool Congress chief, was speaking after meeting Janata Dal-United leader K C Tyagi at the state secretariat here.

“I made an appeal through Facebook for setting up a non-Congress and non-BJP federal front. I have already discussed the matter with (Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief) Navin Patnaik and (JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar. They have responded positively,” Banerjee said after her talks with Tyagi.

Banerjee said some other leaders also deliberated with her on the matter. “We will meet at an appropriate time.”

Tyagi, who called his visit a “courtesy call”, said both the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the BJP “have failed”.

The talks come against the backdrop of the buzz that the JD-U is on the verge of deserting the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the wake of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s election campaign committee chief.

The JD-U, particularly Nitish Kumar, is strongly opposed to  projection of Modi as the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate, as they fear that the step would alienate the minorities.

Political analysts feel Modi’s elevation as the BJP campaign committee head is a precursor to him being projected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

Banerjee on Monday appealed to all non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties to launch a united fight, saying that they needed to walk together to free the country from “misrule” and “anti-people” decisions.

“The time has come for all the regional parties to come together and form a Federal Front in the coming Lok Sabha elections… I appeal to all the non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties to launch a united fight to free the country from misrule and anti-people decisions, and work together to build a better and brighter India,” she said in a post on her Facebook page.

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