Kolkata: As elections for the new President of India is scheduled sometime in July this year, it is certain that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will take a lead role in uniting the regional parties so that a strong and unanimously accepted opposition candidate can be fielded against the nominee of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
On Thursday, after a section of the media asked Banerjee about the Presidential polls, she refused to divulge the details of her plans but made it clear that she is determined to take a lead role in uniting the opposition ahead of the Presidential polls.
“There is time to go for the polls. I cannot divulge my plans right now. I will share the details at an appropriate time. All I can say is that the opposition will put up a strong contest,” the Chief Minister said.
IANS contacted a senior Trinamool MP, who on conditions of anonymity said that Banerjee has started talking to the CMs of non-BJP states on this count.
“During her recent visit to New Delhi, she had a meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The issue of fielding a unanimous opposition candidate came up in the meeting. I heard that soon she is also likely to hold a meeting with TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on this matter. The rest is up to the Chief Minister to decide,” the Trinamool MP said.
That Trinamool will go all out to play an important role in forging opposition unity over the Presidential polls was made clear by Banerjee on March 16, when she said that despite BJP’s victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, it will not be a cakewalk for the BJP since they do not have even 50 per cent of the total number of legislators in the country.
“You should not forget that without our support, BJP will not be able to sail through,” the Chief Minister had said then.
The question that automatically arises is whether the Chief Minister’s dream of taking a lead role in uniting the opposition on this issue will be fulfilled if she keeps the Congress out of her plans.
According to All Indian Congress Committee member Suvankar Sarkar, Banerjee has to decide whether she is really serious about uniting the opposition on the issue of Presidential polls.
“In March, she had said that without Trinamool’s help the BJP will not be able to sail through. Do I consider this statement as a subtle message to the BJP? The initiative has to come from her side on whether she wants the support of the Congress on this issue,” he said.
Political analyst and the former registrar of Calcutta University, Rajagopal Dhar Chakraborty, said that any attempt from the Chief Minister to field an unanimously accepted opposition candidate will not be fruitful without the support of the Congress.
“Mere unity of regional parties will never be able to put up a formidable opposition against BJP’s presidential nominee. However, I feel the equation will be clear by the first or second week of June,” Chakraborty said.