Mamata ready to embrace Left, outside West Bengal
Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, says that she is willing to join a coalition that includes her arch rival, the Left, if the Congress takes the initiative to form the group.
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New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, says that she is willing to join a coalition that includes her arch rival, the Left, if the Congress takes the initiative to form the group.
Banerjee, who in 2011, ended the Left's 34-year-long run in Bengal, made it clear, however, that any partnership would not extend to her home state.
"Let them decide... Let them invite," Ms Banerjee told a news channel when asked if she would join an alliance fronted by the Congress to take on the BJP. "For the greater interest of the country, for the peaceful situation of the country, for the stability of the country... I will be with them," she said, stressing that she is committed to fighting "communal forces."
Banerjee's party, the Trinamool Congress, has been unnerved by gains made in Bengal by the BJP. In the Lok Sabha election, the BJP, powered by Narendra Modi's high-octane campaign, won two of the state's 42 parliamentary seats. In recent Assembly bypolls to two seats, the BJP won South Bashirhat and made an entry into the House. Buoyed by the victory at South Bashirhat, the BJP has launched a membership drive and erstwhile supporters of the Left are believed to be joining in droves as well as disgruntled Trinamool supporters.
Bengal votes for its next government in 2016.
The BJP will lose future elections if regional parties come together, Mamata said Tuesday. "The Congress committed mistakes because of which they were voted out of power. The BJP is ruling India with only 29 percent votes. They won because regional parties didn't fight unitedly. If regional forces come together, the BJP will lose," she said.
BJP described Mamata’s act of sharing dais with Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury as a desperation to save her political space. "Mamata sharing stage with CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, who was Trinamool's number one enemy and the Congress leadership, is nothing but a desperation on part of Banerjee to save her fast depleting political space in Bengal," BJP national secretary Siddarth Nath Singh told PTI.
The Left, meanwhile, rejected the offer, saying that it looks at Bengal as a triangular contest between the Trinamool, the BJP and itself. "If you have to fight communalism, you have to answer some fundamental questions. Who brought BJP to Bengal?" CPM's Mohammed Salim said.