West Bengal chief minister and Trinamul Congress party president Mamata Banerjee has written to at least a dozen prominent opposition leaders including Congress’s Sonia Gandhi, asking them to join her in the fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party after the current round of assembly polls.
In her strongly worded letter, Mamata said the time had come for a “united and effective struggle against the BJP’s attacks on democracy and the constitution” and “presenting a credible alternative to the people of India.”
Besides Sonia Gandhi, the TMC chief sent the copies of the letter to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, DMK’s Stalin, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, YSR Congress chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Jana Dal’s Tejaswi Yadav, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal and CPI-ML’s Dipankar Bhattacharya.
Of course, Mamata excluded CPI and CPI-M, which are her traditional rivals in West Bengal.
But what is surprising is that Mamata has ignored even Telugu Desam Party president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, despite the fact that the latter had made an attempt to stitch together an anti-BJP coalition before the 2019 general elections.
Apparently, Mamata has suspected the credibility of Chandrababu Naidu in his anti-BJP fight.
He had taken several U-turns on this front – he opposed BJP in the before 1998, later joined the NDA during the Vajpayee regime, parted ways with the BJP after 2004 elections and returned to the NDA fold again in 2014.
Naidu came out of the NDA in 2018 and launched a tirade against the Narendra Modi government, but after losing the 2019 polls, he expressed regrets over severing ties with the BJP. Since then, he has been adopting a softer approach towards the BJP and praising Narendra Modi.
Maybe, because of this reason, Mamata has not taken Chandrababu Naidu into confidence, while asking the leaders of other political parties to come together in their fight against the BJP.
She said the BJP wants to make it impossible for non-BJP parties to exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms.
“It wants to dilute the powers of the state governments and downgrade them to mere municipalities. In short, it wants to establish a one-party authoritarian rule in India,” she said in the letter.
She referred to several reasons like “misuse” of the office of the governor, central agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, “withholding” states’ funds, “disbanding” bodies like the National Development Council and Planning Commission, using money power to topple non-BJP governments, privatisation of “nation’s assets” and “deterioration” in the relations between the states and the Centre, for her right against the BJP.