The West Bengal Chief Minister meets Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
S Gopal Puri
‘Khela hobe’ (game is on) is a continuous process and will happen all over the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday, referring to the key slogan of the Trinamool Congress in state assembly polls earlier this year in which the party returned to power with a thumping majority. Mamata Banerjee came to Delhi on Wednesday to hold deliberations with opposition parties and met senior leaders from Congress on Tuesday.
She met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Chief Minister told the media that she spoke with RJD leader Lalu Prasad on Tuesday.
Asked if she will be the opposition face in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, she did not give a direct answer and said she was “not a political astrologer”. “I am not a political astrologer, it depends on the system, depends on political parties. I cannot impose my decision on others. Today I have a meeting with Sonia Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal is coming, Laluji also called. We are talking to each other. After the Parliament session, we must start meeting. When I meet there will be a political discussion, I’m a simple worker. I don’t want to say that I am the face,” she said.
She also said that the next general election will be “Modi versus country” and all opposition parties should come together in the next three years. “Poore desh me khela hobe. It’s a continuous process…When general elections come (2024), it will be Modi vs country,” she said.
Trinamool Congress repeatedly raised ‘Khela hobe’ (the game is on) slogan during the assembly polls earlier this year in West Bengal. On Pegasus issue, Mamata Banerjee alleged that her phone is tapped. “My phone is already tapped. If Abhishek’s (Mukherjee) phone is tapped, and I am talking to him, then, automatically my phone is tapped too. Pegasus has put everyone’s life in danger,” she said.
With an eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday discussed “the unity of Opposition” with Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and said it is essential for everyone to come together in order to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Banerjee termed the meeting as “very good” and expressed hope that positive results will come in the near future. “Sonia ji invited me for tea, Rahul ji was also there. We discussed the political situation in general, the Pegasus, COVID situation, and also discussed the unity of opposition. It was a very good meeting. I think the positive result must come out in the future,” Banerjee told reporters here after the meeting.
“It is essential for everyone to come together in order to defeat BJP… Alone, I am nothing – everyone will have to work together. I am not a leader, I am a cadre. I am a person from the street,” she added.
Banerjee’s visit during the ongoing Parliament’s Monsoon session holds significance as the Opposition is cornering the BJP-led NDA government on a range of issues including price rise, increasing cost of diesel and petrol, and issues related to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The West Bengal Chief Minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday. The Trinamool Congress chief met the Prime Minister a day after her arrival in the national capital. This is her first visit to the national capital since Trinamool Congress returned to power in the assembly polls earlier this year.
Her visit has coincided with the monsoon session of parliament in which the opposition parties are protesting on a range of issues including the allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware, price rise, and repeal of three farm laws.
Earlier in the day Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and Congress leader Anand Sharma met the Trinamool Congress chief.
Sharma told the media that he and Mamata Banerjee have worked together for years.
“I appreciate her for how she fought the recent polls and won. She has come to Delhi for the first time after victory, so I came and had tea with her,” he told the media.
Mamata Banerjee was in Congress before she formed her own party.