On the second day of her Delhi visit, Mamata Banerjee met with disgruntled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha who, in turn, appreciated her efforts to bring together all regional forces against the Narendra Modi government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Later in the evening, she met with former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Following her meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee said that they "share a good relation" and that she told Sonia Gandhi that every party should fight where they are strong.
Whenever I come here I meet her, we share a good relation. I enquired about her health and also had political discussion. I said that the country wants it to be one-is-to-one in 2019, jo party jahan strong hai wahan usko ladna chahiye (every party should fight where they are strong).
She also discussed how a one-on-one fight will help eliminate BJP politically.
We want Congress to help the regional parties’ front that is being talked about, so as to facilitate a one-is-to-one fight. This one-is-to-one fight will eliminate BJP politically.
One-On-One Fight Against BJP Right Path: Arun Shourie
The West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief, who has been meeting leaders of various Opposition parties and some allies of the ruling BJP in New Delhi, also held discussions with Arun Shourie, a former Union minister in the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
After the meeting, Shourie, who has been critical of the Modi government, said Banerjee’s theory of putting up a one-on-one fight against the BJP in every state was the right path to take on Modi.
If the one-on-one formula is implemented, the Opposition will be able to corner 69 percent of votes.Arun Shourie
Though Yashwant Sinha did not clarify on whether he or Shatrughan Sinha would join a united force against the BJP, he said:
“Mamata is our old Cabinet colleague. Her personality is known to everyone. The role she has taken to save the country is appreciable. In future also, we will support her.”
Banerjee was part of the Vajpayee government.
Mamata Meets Sonia Next
After the BJP leaders, Banerjee met with Sonia Gandhi.
Although the meeting is said to be a personal visit, it is being said that the meeting could work towards burying differences between the two parties.
“Yes, Sonia ji is unwell right now and recovering. I will meet her once she is fine,” she had said on Tuesday after her meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Non-Congress’ Federal Front?
The meeting with Sonia Gandhi is anticipated because Banerjee had earlier vouched for a ‘Congress-free’ federal front. According to sources, she doesn’t want to let go of her as a possible leader of a non-Congress Front – which might not be the case if the Congress joined the front.
Pawar, being the only leader who holds good relations with the two camps, has reportedly shown interest in keeping the Congress as a part of the front. The NCP believes that a non-Congress, non-BJP front will disperse Opposition unity.
Mamata Banerjee said that a non-Congress federal front should be formed to take on the BJP in the Assembly as well as the Lok Sabha elections. She feels that if the Congress becomes a part of the Opposition front, then many parties like the BJD and the TDP would not join the alliance. But she urged Sharad Pawar to also speak to other Opposition parties to know their views.NCP leader, after a meeting with Banerjee on Tuesday
After her meeting with Opposition leaders on Tuesday, Mamata emphasised on the importance of unity within the Opposition, further hinting that she might end up including Congress in the front.
All Opposition parties should work together. It should be a one-to-one fight against the BJP. All Opposition parties should help the strongest one in the state against the BJP.Mamata Banerjee