Mamata Banerjee, after reaching out to regional heavyweights MK Stalin and K Chandrasekhara Rao, reserved a grand snub for the Congress as she said no regional party is on good terms with it and it can go its own way.
On Sunday, the Bengal Chief Minister pinged her Tamil Nadu and Telangana counterparts and discussed a meeting of opposition Chief Ministers to “protect” the country’s federal structure. She made it clear today that the Congress is not invited.
“No regional party shares good terms with Congress. The Congress party will go its way, we will go our way,” Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
She said she had asked the Congress and the Left to come together with other opposition parties against the BJP but they “did not listen”. The Congress and the Left are bitter rivals of the Trinamool in Bengal, which has stymied attempts to collaborate at the national level.
Referring to her phone calls to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin and Telangana’s Mr Rao or KCR, Ms Banerjee said: “The country’s federal structure has been bulldozed…the country’s Constitution is being demolished. We all need to come together to protect it.”
She added: “Together, we are trying to protect the federal structure. All regional parties must come to an understanding.”
The Congress is an alliance partner of Mr Stalin’s DMK in Tamil Nadu.
The Bengal Chief Minister’s cold war with the Congress has intensified after their Goa disaster, when the Trinamool Congress’ overtures to the Congress for an alliance missed the mark and ended up with both parties blaming each other.
On Sunday, Mr Rao said he would soon meet with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Mamata Banerjee in the efforts to consolidate various opposition forces against the BJP.
“Mamata Behen (Mamata Banerjee) called me. We had a discussion over phone. She invited me to Bengal or she’ll come to Hyderabad. She said mujhe dosa khilao. I said, most welcome. She may come any time. We are discussing. There are so many political leaders across the nation,” said KCR, who has also been talking to various leaders about a non-BJP, non-Congress Front.
Ms Banerjee and Mr Stalin, who have in common their fractious ties with their state governors, spoke on the phone yesterday.
“Beloved Didi Mamata Banerjee telephoned me to share her concern and anguish on the constitutional overstepping and brazen misuse of power by the Governors of non-BJP ruled states,” Mr Stalin tweeted after the call.
“She suggested a meeting of Opposition Chief Ministers. I assured her of DMK’s commitment to uphold state autonomy. Convention of Opposition Chief Ministers will soon happen out of Delhi,” he said.
Ms Banerjee also spoke about her party’s ties with the Samajwadi Party and her visit to UP to campaign for Akhilesh Yadav. She said she would again visit UP on March 3 to campaign for the Samajwadi Party in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi.
“The country can be saved only if UP is protected (against the BJP). If we want to defeat Narendra Modi in 2024, big states like UP and Bengal will matter the most,” she said.