Kolkata, Nov 24: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday threw enough hints that she is not averse to taking the lead in bringing together opposition parties on a single platform against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha election in 2019.
The Trimool Congress chief also stressed on “collective leadership” and favoured the tiol opposition continuing to work together to put up a credible challenge to the Modi government.
“It depends... Already, we are working together in Parliament. We will see. I went to (RJD chief) Lalu Prasadji in Pat. I have a good relationship with (Samajwadi Party chief) Akhileshji (Yadav)and (BSP chief) Mayawatiji in Uttar Pradesh,” she said.
“Also, we have relationship with Stalin (of DMK) and veen Patikji in Odisha. The other day, Uddhav (of Shiv Se) came to meet me in Maharashtra. I maintain the best of relations with so many other people. Even within the BJP, I maintain good relations with some people but not with all the people,” Banerjee said in response to a query on forming a grand coalition before the 2019 general election.
There was a big round of laughter when she said “not with all the people” in BJP, an apparent jibe at Prime Minister rendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah who have been gunning for her.
The Trimool leader was speaking at the India Today Conclave East.
Asked about opposition parties coming together to fight the next Lok Sabha polls, she said: “There is no persol agenda against PM (Prime Minister). Whenever public are facing problems, it is our duty to raise our voice. I believe in the collective leadership... At this present situation, all are working together and that is the best policy. Let us work together.
“In Bengal, the Congress and the Left, they are working with the BJP. But at the tiol level, we feel we must work together. We are working together with other parties,” she said when asked to clarify what she meant by collective leadership.
Asked about her meeting with Shiv Se chief Uddhav Thackeray despite being seen as a “secular champion”, Banerjee’s shot back: “First, I do not want to take any secularism certificate from anybody because it is my life and I maintain that. I am grateful to them as they accompanied us when we met President Prab Mukherjee after the demonetisation announcement (in November last year).
“They opposed demonetisation. We can’t forget that. That is why we maintain working relationship with them. If there is a common issue, of course we will work together.”
Banerjee described demonetisation and GST as the biggest blunders of the Modi government. (IANS)