New Delhi, June 18: Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Sunday met Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee who was in the national capital on Sunday to attend the fourth meeting of the Niti Aayog Governing Council.Also Read - Delhi Govt to Prepare 'Pusa' Bio-Decomposer From Sep 24 to Curb Stubble Burning
The meeting took place despite the Congress and TMC having different opinions on the ongoing slugfest between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor. Also Read - Ahead of Uttarakhand Polls, Arvind Kejriwal Promises Job Quota, Unemployment Allowance | Deets Inside
PTI quoted TMC insiders saying that Banerjee is in the leading role of uniting all opposition parties to take on the BJP in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and Patel’s visit indicates Congress’ interest of being a part of it. Also Read - BJP Ignored Grass-Root Fighters, Gave Rivals Top Positions: TMC’s Babul Supriyo Tears Into Swapan Dasgupta
“Ahmed Patel meeting Banerjee is politically significant as it is likely that he has been directed by Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to meet the chief minister. Banerjee today is in the leading role of uniting all opposition parties aganst BJP. And Congress obviously wants to be a part of it,” said a TMC source.
While AAP’s sit-in at the LG office has been supported by several regional parties, including the TMC, the Telugu Desam Party, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Left, Congress has accused Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal of making the people of the national capital suffer due to his “inflated ego”.
According to an Economic Times report, the Congress leadership feels that although a united front is necessary to take on the BJP in 2019, the party also be able to retain its identity and position on necessary issues.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said Kejriwal should put an end to the crisis by expressing “regrets” to Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, who was allegedly assaulted by AAP legislators at the chief minister’s residence during a late night meeting on February 19.
Kejriwal’s campaign against the Lt Governor, a central government appointee, over his alleged attempts to stall his government’s functioning has become a rallying point for many opposition parties against the BJP.
Banerjee, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh’s N Chandrababu Naidu and Karnataka’s H D Kumaraswamy had a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the sidelines of the NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting and urged the Centre to resolve the standoff.
Kejriwal and his three cabinet colleagues have been staying put at the waiting room of Lt Governor’s residence, protesting against what they call a strike by Delhi government IAS officers.
Meanwhile, the IAS Officers Association came out in public alleging that they have been “targeted and victimised” for political gains.
Countering Kejriwal’s allegations, Saxena, a senior member of IAS AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) Association, said that officers were not working at the behest of anyone.
“We are answerable only to the law and the Constitution,” Saxena said, adding that they had been targeted and victimised.
“We would like to inform that we are not on strike,” she said.