MUMBAI: In her inimitable style, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asserted that there exists no such collective as a United Progressive Alliance (UPA). She made this statement soon after she stepped out of her meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo, Sharad Pawar.
“What is UPA? There is no UPA!” she quipped, as the media prodded her response to a hypothetical question on whether Pawar should be declared as the UPA chairman. “What will he do sitting there?” she retorted.
Claiming that the country is being led by a fascist regime, she once again called for a united opposition front at the national level. “We should make an alternative group. No one can do it (defeat BJP) alone. Whoever is strong at whichever place needs to join hands (against BJP). Pawar is the senior-most leader. I have worked with Pawar for very long. That is why I came to meet him to extend political courtesy and discuss. I am in agreement with his views,” said Banerjee.
Pawar was a key interlocutor of the opposition ahead of the 2019 contest.
Referring to his meeting with Banerjee as “Template for 2024”, Pawar tweeted: “Pleased to meet Hon’ble CM of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee at my Mumbai residence. We discussed various issues. We agreed upon the need to strengthen the collective efforts and commitment towards safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the betterment of our people.” He also attached pictures with Banerjee from the meeting.
Pleased to meet Hon'ble CM of West Bengal Smt @MamataOfficial at my Mumbai residence. We Discussed various issues. We agreed upon the need to strengthen the collective efforts and commitment towards safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the betterment of our people. pic.twitter.com/ryrVH2hD6N
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) December 1, 2021
Meanwhile, the NCP Supremo has made a fresh pitch for the unity of opposition parties to take on the BJP in the next elections.
“All those opposed to the BJP are welcome to join us. There is no question of excluding anyone. We need to work unitedly against the BJP,” Pawar said when asked if an alliance without Congress was on the cards.
After the TMC victory in West Bengal assembly elections, the party is expanding its base to the states of Tripura, Goa and Meghalaya.
Several Congress leaders have joined TMC in last few months including Abhijit Banerjee (son of former President and Congress leader, Pranab Mukherjee), Sushmita Dev, L Faleiro (Former Goa Chief Minister), Ashok Tanwar , besides 12 out of 17 Congress MLAs from Meghalaya.
The Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, however, hit out at the TMC, saying the defeat of BJP without Congress is a far-fetched dream.
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