New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday declared that she would fight alongside the Congress and the Left to take on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Addressing a mega rally organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, Banerjee said that her party will fight alongside the Congress and CPM at the national level.
“In the coming days, we will fight together. Our differences with the Congress and CPM will remain till the state. We are together at the national level. Let them fight against me, I don’t mind. For interest of the nation, I’m ready to sacrifice my life/party,” she said.
Banerjee’s statement is seen as her most pronounced pitch for the prime ministerial post, despite the TMC’s differences with the Congress and Left in West Bengal.
The statement comes hours after Banerjee, upset with Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s attack on her over the Saradha chit fund case in the Lok Sabha, registered her displeasure with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Parliament.
Sources said Gandhi, while trying to placate her, said, “We are accusing each other but we are friends,” to which the TMC chief responded: “I will remember.”
“Any fight with the Congress will remain in the state. At the national level, we will fight together, this I am saying from the heart… For the greater interest of the country, I am ready to sacrifice my life, my party. I am ready to sacrifice everything,” she said at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protest at Jantar Mantar which was attended by several opposition leaders.
Banerjee, who is in Delhi till Thursday, also met RJD’s Misa Bharti, Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra, SP’s Jaya Bachchan and Dimple Yadav in her room in Parliament in the morning.
Addressing the protest, Banerjee appealed to all opposition parties to play to their strengths and not cut into each others’ votes. She also asked them to ensure that they get all the seats in the states they are strong in.
“Whichever party is strong should work there, fight there against the BJP, in Delhi, it’s AAP, in UP, it is BSP, SP, in Kashmir, there is Farooq Abdullah…For higher good, some sacrifices are needed…If we want, we can fight in many more seats, but we never do this for the higher good,” she said.
In an apparent dig at the Congress whose state unit is fighting tooth and nail against the TMC, Banerjee said while the Rahul Gandhi-led party is strong in the three heartland states, they should not cut into her party’s votes in West Bengal.
“We tell the Congress, if you are strong in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, you should fight there. But where we are strong, don’t let the BJP win. I am used to fighting the BJP, CPM and the Congress because in Bengal, these three parties fight together. Even if we make an understanding, they don’t transfer votes. I am used to this. I am not scared. How much ever they fight, I will get 42 out of 42,” she asserted.
Meanwhile, her announcement gives boost to the opposition’s efforts to stitch a grand alliance to take on the BJP in the general elections.
Launching a scathing attack on the PM Modi, Banerjee said that democracy has become ‘Namocracy’ and the situation in the country is worse than emergency.
The TMC chief also attacked the Centre over the CBI’s failed bid to question Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar at his home, saying she had not seen a government that “stooped so low”.
“It is Prime Minister’s last day as elected leader in Parliament today,” she said after the Lok Sabha adjourned sine die.
“Everyone is afraid of Gabbar Singh. There are two of them — (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (BJP chief Amit) Shah,” she said.
A host of opposition leaders including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Nationalist Congress Party’s Sharad Pawar and CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury spoke during the rally.