'There is no UPA': Mamata after meeting Sharad Pawar

'There is no UPA', says Mamata Banerjee after meeting Sharad Pawar

Pawar, who met Banerjee along with his senior party leaders, said that they held a long discussion on various political issues

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee file photo. Credit: PTI Photo

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai and took a not-so-subtle dig at the Congress, accusing the grand old party of not doing enough to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“There is no UPA (United Progressive Alliance) now,” Banerjee told journalists after meeting Pawar, thus denying the existence of the Congress-led coalition that included both the NCP and the Trinamool Congress and ran the government at the Centre till 2014. She also mooted earlier on the day the idea of a coalition of the regional parties without the Congress to counter the BJP.

Pawar, however, refrained from publicly lending support to West Bengal Chief Minister's suggestion to leave the Congress out of the coalition to take on the BJP. “All those opposed to the BJP are welcome to join us. There is no question of excluding anyone,” the NCP patriarch said, when a journalist asked him if he had discussed with the Trinamool Congress supremo about the possibility of an anti-BJP alliance without the Congress.

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“One cannot fight fascism alone. We have to fight unitedly. Those who fight should come together. What can (one) do if one doesn't fight,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said, tacitly accusing the Congress of not doing enough to counter the BJP. She also took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, saying: “Continuous endeavour is necessary in politics. You can't be abroad most of the time.”

Banerjee had a meeting with Aditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena soon after her arrival in Mumbai on Tuesday. She had a meeting with Medha Patkar and other civil society activists, film personalities like Javed Akhtar, Shatrughan Sinha, Mahesh Bhatt and Swara Bhaskar as well as comedian Munawar Faruqui.

“Unfortunately, we are facing a cruel, undemocratic and unethical attitude of the BJP,” she said, adding: “I know Mahesh Bhatt is victimised, Shah Rukh is victimised. There are many more... Some can open their mouths and some cannot”.

She reached Mumbai on Tuesday, less than a week after her visit to New Delhi, and brought to the fore the rift between her Trinamool Congress and the Congress. Unlike her last visit to the national capital, she did not have a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Her party also last week opened its door for 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya and thus, turned into the main opposition party in the BJP-ruled north-eastern state overnight.

She also admitted into her party Rahul Gandhi's former confidante Ashok Tanwar and cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, who had quit the BJP to join the Congress in February 2019. Two other well-known leaders of the Congress in Goa and Assam – Luizinho Faleiro and Sushmita Dev – had earlier joined the Trinamool Congress.

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