Kolkata: In a bid to build a strong anti-Narendra Modi front to corner the ruling NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will on Monday visit Delhi to meet influential opposition leaders, including Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.
She will reach the national capital in the evening after attending the cabinet meeting at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’.
She will camp in Delhi till July 29 and during the stay will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 28 to raise various issues related to funds and COVID-19 vaccination in Bengal.
“Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to build an anti-BJP force in association with the Congress is going to yield zero results. We have seen the performance of the Congress and the Left in Bengal,” said state BJP president, Dilip Ghosh, who also left for the national capital on Monday.
“She is going to the national capital to surrender before the Prime Minister because she misused the central fund. She is going to meet PM Modi to beg for more funds. We are still receiving incidents of violence in several districts. TMC goons are attacking our party cadres and the police are doing nothing,” he added.
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Pradip Bhattacharya, said, “Every chief minister has the right to meet any political leader. He or she can meet the opposition party leaders and the Prime Minister of India. I don’t see anything wrong in Mamata Banerjee’s scheduled meeting with the opposition political leaders including the central Congress leadership.”
Talking about the future of an alliance between the Congress and the TMC at a time when Banerjee’s equation with the Bengal Congress leadership is known to be not good, he said, “It will be too early to predict the political equation of the opposition leaders ahead of the 2024 polls. Before the Assembly polls in the state, the Congress leadership in Delhi discussed with us about all other political parties, including the TMC. This time, too, the central leadership will certainly discuss the matter (on possible alliance with the Congress) with the state Congress leaders before taking any final decision. Everything is premature now.”
After defeating the BJP in the recently held Assembly polls in Bengal, Banerjee has intensified her campaign against the BJP and consistently urged the opposition party leaders to form an umbrella body to take on the NDA in 2024 general elections.
To expand her footprint in national politics, her Shahid Diwas (martyrs’ day) virtual speech was recently telecast in other states too.
Many political experts felt that it will be too early to predict the feasibility of ‘political understanding’ among the leaders who are against the BJP because of inevitable differences among them over portfolio, posts, national issues, and individual prominence in future.
Political expert Kapil Thakur said the challenge of pitting TMC against the BJP in national politics will not be an easy one for Banerjee. “In less than four years of time, it will be difficult for parties like Congress to bounce back in the national politics. As far as TMC is concerned, it is equally a challenging task for Mamata Banerjee to project her party as one of the key forces against PM Modi in the national politics. The main problem in such a coalition, which we have witnessed in the past, is differences of opinion among the opposition leaders.”
On June 7, after the landslide victory in the 2021 assembly polls, Banerjee’s nephew and TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee announced that the party will expand its base in other states to take on the BJP head-on.