New Delhi: Amplifying her efforts to consolidate an anti-BJP ‘third front’ or ‘federal front’, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday met former Congress President Sonia Gandhi as well as Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and pitched for a ‘one-is-to-one’ fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party. Earlier today, she also met three senior BJP leaders – namely, Shatrughan Sinha, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie to discuss the potential of the third front.
Addressing reporters after her meeting with Gandhi, the TMC chief said that she shares a “good relation” with the Congress leader. She said, “Whenever I come here I meet her, we share a good relation. I enquired about her health, also had political discussion, I said that the country wants it to be one-is-to-one in 2019, jo party jahan strong hai wahan usko ladna chahiye (whichever party is strong in a region should fight from there).”
Elaborating on her statement she said, “We want Congress to help the regional parties’ front that is being talked about, so as to facilitate a one-is-to-one fight. This one-is-to-one fight will eliminate BJP politically.”
Earlier in the day, Delhi chief minister Kejriwal had also met Banerjee for a half-an-hour meeting. However, he did not address the media after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the three BJP leaders, who have been vocal critics of the Narendra Modi government in the past, praised Banerjee’s efforts to forge a broad coalition of forces for a one-to-one fight with the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Former union minister Yashwant Sinha said that he, along with actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, had met the West Bengal chief minister “as there was a need to save the country”. “We worked together for a long time in the (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee government and you are all familiar with her personality,” he said.
“The role she has played in this direction is admirable. We came to thank her and she should continue discharging the role strongly in the future. She has our full support and cooperation,” IANS quoted Yashwant Sinha as saying.
Lauding Banerjee as a mass leader who connected to the grassroots, Shatrughan Sinha said, “We are with her in her struggle for the country. Nation is bigger than the party. All this work is not anti-party but pro-nation. We have come to give her support for the sake of the country.” Shourie too hailed Banerjee’s pitch for one-to-one contest with the BJP in 2019 elections, and said, “If this is one-to-one formula is adopted, then the opposition parties start with 69 percent of the votes. Because even at the height of his popularity, Modi got only 31 percent of the votes,”
Banerjee, who arrived in Delhi on Monday, had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and MPs of BJP’s ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday. She had also met Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha and Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti besides MPs from Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and DMK.