India

Mamata Banerjee says, ‘We all are kings’ talking of the nature of Opposition unity

The TMC chief said she was not vying to be the Prime Minister and that the first priority was to defeat the BJP which is "scared and nervous" to face the 2019 polls because of opposition unity.

New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, on her three-day visit to Delhi, pulled out all stops to rally opposition parties in the national capital, with the aim of defeating a “scared” BJP in the 2019 general elections.

On Tuesday, Mamata Banerjee met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi to talk about the current political situation and the 2019 General election. “We discussed how we can work together,” Banerjee said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting in New Delhi, Mamata criticised the BJP for the lakhs of names which were excluded from the Assam NRC. She said: “My concern is that the over 40 lakh people missing from the list belong to other states in the country. What does the BJP want? Peace or civil war? Some people have been living there (in Assam) for generations. How has this happened to our genuine voters?”

The final draft of the NRC was published in Assam with 2.9 crore names on Monday. After the list was released, the BJP had said there should be a similar effort to “identify illegal migrants from Bangladesh in West Bengal”.

Mamata Banerjee announced on Wednesday that the Opposition parties would face next year’s Lok Sabha elections under a “collective leadership” as they aim to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power.

Banerjee quoted the poet Rabindranath Tagore to describe the nature of the coalition: “One of his songs say ‘we all are kings’. That will be the nature of the Opposition unity. You can see the BJP is politically nervous because they know they will not return to power in 2019.”

TMC leader said she was not vying to be the Prime Minister and that the first priority was to defeat the BJP which is “scared and nervous” to face the 2019 polls because of opposition unity. When asked on Amit Shah’s criticism of her on the NRC issue, she said, “I am not his servant. Why should I reply to his comments?”

Gaali ka jawaab hum gaali se nahin denge. Yeh hamari parampara hai. (We will not reply to an abuse with an abuse, that is our tradition),” she said.

Interacting with reporters in Bengali, Mamata, who invited leaders of the opposition parties as well as Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to her January 19 rally in Kolkata, told reporters: “Dui hajaar uneesh (2019), BJP finish.”

Apart from the Gandhis, Mamata met leaders of several parties including Shiv Sena, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party, TDP, YSCRP, DMK, RJD and Kerala Congress-Mani inside Parliament complex. She also called on JD-S leader and former PM H D Deve Gowda, BJP veteran L K Advani and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal. The Trinamool supremo had visited Delhi in March this year as well to meet Opposition leaders.

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