As she faces a high-stakes poll battle in West Bengal, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said the time has come for a "united and effective" struggle against the BJP's alleged attacks on democracy and the Constitution, and that opposition leaders should try present a "credible alternative" to the people of the country. In a letter to the non-BJP leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi released by the Trinamool Congress(TMC) on Wednesday, Banerjee also alleged that the Centre-State relations were at its worst since independence.
The missive came on the eve of the second phase of the Assembly polls in West Bengal in which Banerjee is locked in a fierce fight in Nandigram constituency against her protege turned adversary Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP. Banerjee's letter is being seen as an attempt to portray her as a rallying point for all parties opposed to the BJP, which has mounted an aggressive campaign to dislodge her from power in West Bengal after a 10-year rule. Before the TMC, the state was ruled for over three decades by the Left Front, which has now joined hands with the Congress to challenge both Banerjee's party and the BJP.
"I strongly believe that the time has come for a united and effective struggle against the BJP's attacks on democracy and the Constitution. "As the Chairperson of All India Trinamool Congress, I shall work wholeheartedly with you and all other like-minded political parties in this battle. We can win this battle only with unity of hearts and minds, and by presenting a credible alternative to the people," she said.
The BJP hit back at Banerjee, saying that democracy should be the last word in her dictionary. "Democracy should be the last word in @MamataOfficial & @AITCofficial dictionary. Their cadre attack @BJP4Bengal candidates, intimidate voters, capture booths, block all hoardings and at the end leaders preach Democracy," BJP general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh tweeted.
In her three-page letter, Banerjee suggested that the opposition leaders deliberate on the issues raised by her and chart a plan of action after the conclusion of the ongoing Assembly elections in four states and the union territory of Puducherry. The eighth phase of the elections in West Bengal on April 29 will be the final poll segment. Counting of votes is due to be taken up on May 2. Besides Sonia Gandhi, the letter has been sent to Chief Ministers Uddhav Thackeray(Maharashtra-Shiv Sena), Hemant Soren(Jharkhand-JMM), Arvind Kejriwal(Delh-AAP), Naveen Patnaik(Odisha-BJD) and Jagan Reddy(Andhra Pradesh–YSR Congress), NCP's Sharad Pawar, DMK's MK Stalin, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, NC's Farooq Abdullah, PDP's Mehbooba Mufti and CPI(ML)'s Dipankar Bhattacharya.
The move by the fiery leader quickly got the backing of Mehbooba Mufti.
Mufti said it is imperative for the opposition parties in the country to unite in order to protect democracy and its cherished values.