New Delhi: After a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said “there is no UPA” left. The TMC supremo made it clear that the UPA or the United Progressive Alliance, a centre-left political alliance led by Congress, does not exist anymore.
Making a fresh pitch for the unity of opposition parties, Banerjee said, “A firm alternative course should be made as nobody’s fighting against ongoing fascism. Sharad Ji is the senior most leader and I came to discuss our political parties. I agree with whatever Sharad Pawar said. There is no UPA.”
Banerjee, who is on a visit to Maharashtra, met Shiv Sena leaders Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut on Tuesday. The meeting was seen as an outreach to fellow opposition leaders ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Those Opposed To BJP Should Come Together: Pawar
Following today’s meeting, NCP leader Sharad Pawar agreed on the need to provide a strong alternative to the current ruling NDA led by BJP.
“All those opposed to the BJP are welcome to join us. There is no question of excluding anyone,” Pawar said when asked if an alliance without Congress was on the cards.
“Today, my colleagues and I had a long chat with her. Her intention is, in today’s situation like-minded forces have to come together at national level and set up collective leadership,” he said.
Calling it a positive discussion, Pawar said, “We have to provide a strong alternative to leadership. Our thinking is not for today, but for election. This has to be established and with that intention, she has visited and had a very positive discussion with all of us.”
Rift Between TMC And Congress
Banerjee’s meeting with opposition leaders comes amid a strain in the ties between the TMC and Congress. As the TMC is expanding pan-India, the biggest loser seems to be the Congress Party. There is induction of new leaders from the other parties, TMC started from Assam where Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev joined TMC and this trend reached Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and then Meghalaya where leader of the opposition in Meghalaya assembly Mukul Sangma and other MLAs merged with the TMC.
The Trinamool had also chosen to skip the Opposition meeting called by the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge ahead of the commencement of the winter session of Parliament on Monday. The meeting was called over the suspension of 12 opposition MPs from the Rajya Sabha for the rest of the session. For the joint statement of 11 Opposition parties, the TMC chose to distance itself and held a separate press conference.
Recently, Mamata Banerjee visited Delhi but she did not meet Sonia Gandhi. When asked by reporters why she did not meet Gandhi, Banerjee said, “Is it mandatory to meet Mrs Gandhi?”