TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that her party's political rivalry with the Congress and the Left Front in West Bengal would not come in the way of uniting the Opposition parties to oust the ruling BJP from power.
Chief Minister of West Bengal joined her counterparts in Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu, as well as the leaders of several other Opposition parties in a demonstration at Jantar Mantar to protest against the “dictatorial rule” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's regime.
The Congress was in dilemma over joining the protest demonstration hosted by Kejriwal as it contests the ruling AAP in the National Capital Territory.
The party president, Rahul Gandhi, however, finally sent senior leader Anand Sharma to share the podium with other Opposition leaders.
“Our fight with the Congress and the CPM is limited within the state (of West Bengal). We will fight together (against the BJP) at the national level,” Mamata said.
Mamata has of late been projecting herself as a pivot of the efforts by the Opposition parties to join hands to oust the Modi government from power.
She claimed that the Modi government had turned “democracy” into “NaMocracy”.
She also noted that the Modi government would no longer be able to scare people as the Model Code of Conduct would come into force once the Election Commission announces the poll schedule within a month.
Kejriwal was earlier joined by the CPM's Sitaram Yechury and D Raja of the Communist Party of India on the podium.
The communist leaders however left the venue before the TMC supremo came in.
Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party, Sharad Yadav of Loktantrik Janata Dal, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, M K Kanimozhi of the Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam, Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and K Danish Ali of the Janata Dal (Secular) attended the protest demonstration.
Film-star Shatrughan Sinha, a rebel BJP MP, also joined the leaders of other Opposition parties to slam the prime minister for running an authoritarian regime
“Whichever party is strong, should contest against the BJP in their respective states. In Bengal, we are strong. In Andhra (Pradesh), (the Telugu Desam Party of) Chandrababu Naidu is strong. In Delhi, the AAP is strong. In Uttar Pradesh, (the alliance of) Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is strong,” Mamata said.
She hinted that the Congress should refrain from queering the pitch for other Opposition parties and thus giving an advantage to the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and other states where the grand-old party is no longer strong.
“We tell the Congress, if you are strong in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, you should fight there. But, where we are strong, don't let the BJP win,” said Mamata, who has recently stepped up her tirade against the Modi government, particularly with an overnight sit-in-demonstration in Kolkata on February 3 to protest a move by CBI to question police commissioner of the city Rajiv Kumar at his residence in connection with probe into chit fund.
Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP and Farooq Abdullah of the NC too tacitly asked the Congress to avoid helping divide the votes against the BJP.
“We are often asked who we have to stand against Modi. Our response is people of India are against Modi,” Anand Sharma of the Congress said.