Collective Leadership Would Take On BJP In 2019, Says Mamata Banerjee

“There will be a collective leadership to take on BJP”, Mamata Banerjee said. (File)

New Delhi: 

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said today that there would be a collective leadership of the opposition front to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, indicating that the proposed coalition may not name a prime ministerial candidate ahead of the polls.

Ms Banerjee, who is on a three-day visit to Delhi, will meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and other prominent opposition leaders tomorrow to personally invite them for her rally on January 19 in Kolkata aimed at showcasing opposition unity.

“There will be a collective leadership to take on BJP in the coming Lok Sabha polls in 2019. I will meet all the opposition leaders and invite them for the rally. I will also meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi tomorrow,” she told reporters.

 The Trinamool Congress leader was asked whether she could be the prime ministerial candidate for the proposed anti-BJP front. Ms Banerjee is considered a strong contender and the January 19 rally is also seen as an opportunity to consolidate her position within the opposition fold.

 The Congress had earlier given indications that it is not averse to accepting a nominee for the top post from any other party who does not have the backing of the RSS.

 The BJP has ridiculed the proposed opposition alliance, saying it may not materialise at all as leaders of its various constituents harbour prime ministerial aspirations.

While addressing a conclave organised by Catholic Bishops Conference in Delhi, the West Bengal chief minister cautioned the BJP and said that politics of intolerance would not be tolerated in the country.

“BJP can do the politics of dividing the people in states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh. But they can never do it in West Bengal. They also cannot do it in states like Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka as leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and HD Kumaraswamy are there,” she asserted.

Asserting that she would never allow a “divided motherland”, Banerjee said the BJP should remember that “they (BJP) were not there few years back” and claimed “they will not be in the coming year too”.

Lashing out at the BJP, she claimed that it was trying to attack the Dalits, minorities and tribals, whereas her politics was about taking them along.

Later she went to meet former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, Ram Jethmalani and disgruntled BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who have been vocal critics of PM Modi’s government, to invite them for her rally.

“I invited them to participate in the rally in Kolkata. The people who fight against the ruling party win,” she said after meeting the leaders at Jethmalani’s residence.

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