Regional parties ‘need alternative plan' to tackle BJP, but guarded about Mamata-led opposition

Regional parties ‘need alternative plan’ to tackle BJP, but guarded about Mamata-led opposition
© Provided by The Print

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has been actively trying to expand her party’s footprint beyond the state and present herself as a prominent face of a unified Opposition against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre.

Not only has the TMC been trying to forge alliances and preparing to contest elections in the Northeast and Goa, but the party has been on an induction spree — with many former members of the Congress and other parties joining the TMC.

Despite Banerjee’s efforts to project the TMC and herself as the unifying factor in the Opposition against the BJP, however, many prominent regional political parties — that are not part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) — are as yet hesitant to respond to the West Bengal CM’s call for Opposition unity ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Guarded in their approach to the idea of a Mamata Banerjee-led Opposition, most of them are choosing not to comment on the matter as yet, or refraining from voicing a clear decision at this point.

Senior leaders and functionaries of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who have been vocal in their support of Banerjee during election campaigns or during the TMC’s stand-offs with the BJP-led Union government, are still reluctant to follow her leadership for Opposition unity.

Much of their hesitancy has to do with the possibility of the Congress not being part of the Mamata-led Opposition. While some doubt if such an alliance can at all be formed, a few others have an alliance with the party in their state and are as yet torn between their loyalties to the Congress and their hopes of presenting a unified Opposition to the BJP in 2024.

Mamata Banerjee has been dismissive of the Congress-led UPA and also skipped a meeting of Opposition parties called by the Congress last month, ahead of the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

But as a regional party leader, who did not wish to be identified, claimed, “The Congress pegged around 20 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. We are not sure if they can be dismissed just like that. They have a strong presence in several states.”

Also read: Mamata biopic, possible party name change, TMC aims for ‘national appeal’ ahead of 2024 polls

‘Opposition should not be centred around one person’

“We need an alternative programme to defeat the BJP, I agree. And it should not be centred around one person. We have seen what personality-based politics (referring to PM Narendra Modi) has done to us,” RJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha told ThePrint Sunday.

He added: “There has to be a lot of groundwork and discussions in the days to come for such an alternative programme.” The RJD is yet to take a stand on Banerjee’s call for Opposition unity against the BJP.

The SP, meanwhile, cited next year’s assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh as the reason for the party’s current silence on Opposition unity for 2024.

“She (Banerjee) is an old ally of our party. She is an important figure in the Opposition. But at this point, we are only focused on the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh,” Samajwadi Party MP and spokesperson Juhie Singh said Sunday.

The explanation was echoed by a senior BSP leader who did not wish to be identified. “Right now, we are focused only on the upcoming elections (Uttar Pradesh). We can later take a call on her (Banerjee’s) appeal for a united Opposition,” the leader said.

Other parties said their leadership was yet to take a call on the matter.

“The top leadership has not said anything on the issue. So, it won’t be appropriate to comment on it at this stage,” DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva said.

A senior TDP functionary who did not wish to be identified also said they have “decided not to speak on this issue now”.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh told ThePrint Sunday, “In a democracy, every party has the right to expand. We should not be commenting on her (Banerjee’s) strategies.”

The AAP is also attempting to expand its reach beyond Delhi and gearing up for the upcoming elections in UP, Goa and Punjab.

During a visit to Delhi in July, the West Bengal CM had indicated that doors were open for parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to join a unified Opposition. While these parties are not part of the NDA, they are perceived to be friendly with the BJP.

The BJD has lent support to bills pushed by the BJP on several occasions, and the YSRCP was for a long time wooed by the BJP, which saw in it a potential ally in South India.

Talking to ThePrint Sunday, BJD Rajya Sabha member Sujit Kumar said, “We have not taken any decision on this matter yet. We shall do what is best for the state (Odisha).”

A senior leader of the YSRCP who did not wish to be identified said: “We should comment on the issue only after the top leadership says anything. As of now, it has not.”

Also read: Yes, UPA’s dead. But here’s what Mamata, PK are saying about Congress & why that’s right too

Changing equation with the Congress

Banerjee had initiated attempts to rally the Opposition forces and expand the TMC’s influence beyond Bengal soon after the party’s landslide victory in the West Bengal assembly elections in May this year.

In July, the West Bengal CM visited Delhi to meet leaders of Opposition parties, including Congress members Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Four months later, on another visit to Delhi in November, Banerjeee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and several Opposition leaders but skipped meeting the two top leaders of the Congress.

While on this visit, 12 Congress MLAs in Meghalaya joined the TMC, adding to the bitterness between the two parties. Banerjee also welcomed the Congress’ Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar to the party at the same time.

Soon after, while talking to reporters after a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai last week, Mamata said, “What is UPA? There is no UPA now.” The West Bengal CM had also met Shiv Sena leaders Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut during her Mumbai trip last week.

Sources in one of the parties, privy to the details of her meeting with Pawar, told ThePrint that Banerjee mostly sought his help in forming a stronger Opposition against the BJP, without explicitly positioning herself as the face of that Opposition.

In his weekly column in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Rajya Sabha MP Raut wrote Sunday that Banerjee seems to be looking at creating an anti-BJP front, while excluding the Congress from it.

He added that the TMC was not considering a political foray into Maharashtra, as the Shiv Sena and the NCP are effectively standing up to the might of the BJP in the state. “It seems that she is thinking of doing something new minus the Congress,” he wrote, even though he did not clearly specify his party’s stand on Banerjee’s national ambitions.

Earlier, NCP leader Nawab Malik had ruled out the possibility of a united Opposition without the Congress and said that differences between the TMC and the Congress can eventually be sorted out. An editorial in Saamana had also slammed Banerjee’s “No UPA” remark.

The Shiv Sena and the NCP are in an alliance with the Congress in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Want Oppn unity but won’t be anybody’s rubber stamp, TMC says amid tussle with Congress

News Related


Ravens hire Michigan's Mike Macdonald as new defensive coordinator

© Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC The Baltimore Ravens are welcoming back Mike Macdonald to fill their defensive coordinator vacancy, the team announced Thursday night. Macdonald, 34, joined ... Read more »

Cop these beauty and makeup tips from your favourite K-drama characters

There is no denying that Koreans have the most exciting and indulgent skincare regimes. They not only master the fashion game but also nail the skincare game. And when it ... Read more »

Adam Fox ‘day-to-day' after exiting Rangers' loss with upper-body injury

The Rangers’ 5-3 loss to the Blue Jackets on Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio hardly meant much compared to their loss on the blue line. Following his first and only ... Read more »

Southwest says it may start selling booze on flights again this spring. It'd come after a record year in unruly passenger behavior.

© AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File Southwest Airlines could start selling alcohol onboard again. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File Southwest paused has paused its inflight alcohol service several times since ... Read more »

Sixers pounce on LeBron-less Lakers to spoil AD's hot start

© Provided by PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid had 26 points and nine rebounds, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-87 victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without ... Read more »

Lakers lock up Stanley Johnson for rest of season after 10-day contracts

© Provided by EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Stanley Johnson for the rest of the season after the Orange County native’s strong performances ... Read more »

PRN Johor: Politik perkauman mungkin tak pengaruhi pengundi muda, kata NGO

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today PRN Johor akan menjadi pilihan raya pertama membabitkan pengundi berusia 18 hingga 20 tahun. PETALING JAYA: Badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) Undi 18 meramalkan pengundi ... Read more »

Teenager in court over ‘hate crime' after two men attacked in north London

© Jonathan Brady A teenager will appear in court charged over what the Metropolitan Police described as a hate crime following an attack on two men in north London (Jonathan ... Read more »

Elton John thinks it's time for denim clothing to be 'cancelled'

© Provided by Cover Media Elton John Elton John wants all denim clothing “in the world” to be destroyed. During an interview for Vogue’s Life in Looks video series, the ... Read more »

Tambakan Turned Tambayan: Family Renovates Roof Deck Into A Cozy Hangout Place

With many families stuck at home for almost two years now, parents have been creative in bringing the outdoors into their living spaces. Some built DIY swimming pools, some indoor ... Read more »

Volkswagen Vento Comfortline and Vento Highline Plus MT variants discontinued

© Gajanan Kashikar Volkswagen Vento Comfortline and Vento Highline Plus MT variants discontinued Volkswagen has delisted the Vento Comfortline and Vento Highline Plus manual transmission variants from its website. However, ... Read more »

Land Rover India opens bookings for new Range Rover SV

2022 Range Rover SV India Bookings for the New Range Rover SV are now open in India, Land Rover has announced. The vehicle is built by Land Rover’s SVO or ... Read more »

As Omicron pushes the West to reopen, Asia hunkers down

Hwaseong, South Korea – As Omicron pushes Western countries towards reopening, Asia is hunkering down, sharpening an East-West divide on the balance between public health, the economy and basic rights ... Read more »

We're Totally Loving Dr. Aivee Teo's Stylish and Cozy OOTDs in Benguet

© Provided by We only have a few months to enjoy mildly chilly weather in the Philippines, so it’s best to make the most of it. Find an excuse ... Read more »

How to change Palkia's forme in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by GamePur There are several legendary Pokémon for you to encounter and catch in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. You may have seen them in previous games, and you’ll be ... Read more »

Where to find Riolu in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by Dot Esports One of the most elusive Pokémon to find in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum is Riolu⁠—only being obtainable through an Egg from the mysterious trainer ... Read more »

How to evolve Ursaring into Ursaluna in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by Dot Esports Recent entries in the Pokémon series have included regional variants of existing Pokémon, giving them new typings and appearances to match their new environments. Pokémon ... Read more »

Joe Biden warns Ukraine of ‘distinct possibility' of Russian military action

The White House says President Joe Biden warned Ukraine’s president on Thursday there is a “distinct possibility” Russia could take military action against Ukraine in February. The Kremlin sounded a ... Read more »

How to evolve Sneasel into Sneasler in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

© Provided by Dot Esports Pokémon Legends: Arceus has a bunch of new species making their debut in the game—and one of them is Sneasler. Sneasler is the new evolution ... Read more »

Why Won't My Car Start in the Cold?

Discovering your car won’t start on a freezing morning can quickly ruin your day. Of course, a dead battery is the most likely culprit when an engine can’t turn over, ... Read more »

Mary J. Blige paid herself 'high compliments' to overcome low self-esteem

© Provided by Cover Media Mary J. Blige Mary J. Blige paid herself “high compliments” to boost her confidence when she was at a low point in 2016. The Family ... Read more »

Islanders lament near-misses as offensive woes keep mounting

The Islanders are not going to win games with their offense. That’s not who they are. It’s not who they want to be. Head coach Barry Trotz offered that reminder ... Read more »

NeoCov: Wuhan scientists warn of new type of Coronavirus with high death, infection rate

© Provided by Zee News NEW DELHI: A group of Chinese scientists have now warned of a new type of Coronavirus – NeoCoV – which has a potentially high death ... Read more »

Budget 2022 Going to be 'Paperless'; No Halwa Ceremony Amid Covid Fears. Know More

© Provided by News18 Budget 2022 Going to be ‘Paperless’; No Halwa Ceremony Amid Covid Fears. Know More Budget 2022: India has been in the middle of the third wave ... Read more »

US: Suspect wounds three officers, taken into custody by Houston police

A suspect led Houston police on a chase Thursday that ended with him wounding three officers in a shootout, stealing a car and barricading himself inside a home for hours ... Read more »

The Great Khali recreates Allu Arjun's Pushpa dialogue in viral video. Watch

The Great Khali recreates Allu Arjun’s Pushpa dialogue in viral video. (Image courtesy: Instagram) Allu Arjun’s Pushpa has created quite a hullabaloo on social media for all the right reasons. ... Read more »

India COVID-19 Tally: 2.51 lakh new cases, 627 deaths reported in last 24 hrs; active caseload dips to 21.05 lakh

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India’s active COVID-19 caseload has declined to 21.05 lakh, said the Union Health Ministry on Friday while adding that ... Read more »

Key bond market deals: BoB, Godrej Industries, Axis Securities

© Provided by CNBCTV18 Here’s a look at the key bond market deals on Friday. Non-Convertible Debentures: Bank of Baroda sets 8.00 percent coupon on additional Tier I perpetual bonds, ... Read more »

Channi and Sidhu put Rahul Gandhi on notice over Congress' Punjab CM face

© Provided by The Print Chandigarh: Rahul Gandhi began the Congress’ Punjab election campaign Thursday, but was put on notice by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot ... Read more »

Burkina Faso will return to constitutional order when conditions are right, military leader says

Burkina Faso will return to constitutional order when conditions are right, military leader says Burkina Faso’s new military leader Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba said on Thursday that the West African ... Read more »

Happy birthday Shruti Haasan: Salaar actress talks about 'sense of balance', 'reality' and more in long thank you note

© Provided by Shruti Haasan has a lot of things to be grateful for. From a loving family to fans who adore her, the actress has several reasons to ... Read more »

Concerns over railway recruitments will be addressed, says Vaishnaw

© Provided by Hindustan Times HT Image NEW DELHI: Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Sushil Modi has said railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has assured him that concerns ... Read more »

FIR against Shweta Tiwari for hurting religious sentiments with 'bra' comment

An FIR has been filed against actor Shweta Tiwari for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with a controversial statement during a discussion on a new web series in Bhopal. The case ... Read more »

Rupee likely to slip on strong dollar, elevated crude oil prices; USDINR pair to trade in this range

© Provided by The Financial Express USDINR(Spot) pair to trade with a positive bias and quote in the range of 74.80 and 75.50inr vs The Indian rupee on Thursday fell ... Read more »

Top stock tips by Shrikant Chouhan, Mitessh Thakkar: Infosys, BHEL, Bajaj Finance and more

© Provided by CNBCTV18 Indian equity benchmarks started Friday’s session on a positive note despite a mixed trend in other Asian markets. Equities in other Asian markets began Friday on ... Read more »

Shilpa Shetty thanks Gauahar Khan for supporting Shamita Shetty: 'Takes a strong woman to take up for another'

© Provided by Hindustan Times Shilpa Shetty thanks Gauahar Khan for her support to Shamita Shetty. Shilpa Shetty has thanked Gauahar Khan for supporting her sister Shamita Shetty, and the ... Read more »

Writers Guild Awards 2022: 'Don't Look Up', 'Being the Ricardos' score nods in original screenplay

© Provided by WION The Writers Guild of America Awards announced its 2022 nominations. The biggest wins are for films like ‘Being the Ricardos’, ‘Don’t Look Up’, ‘The French Dispatch’, ... Read more »

Weekend curfew over, dining out back - What's open, what's closed in Delhi

© Provided by DNA After a crucial meeting of DDMA, the Delhi government on Thursday decided to lift the weekend curfew and do away with the rule to open shops ... Read more »

Bob Saget's Daughter Lara Says He Had 'Unconditional Love' in Sweet Tribute

© Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Bob Saget‘s daughter, Lara, is honoring her late father. In her first post since his unexpected death, the 32-year-old touched on the actor’s “unconditional love” and the lessons ... Read more »

Google to invest up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel on Friday announced that Google will invest up to $1 billion in the telecom major as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund. The deal ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic