Anti-BJP front: Who all likely to be part of it?

Mamata Banerjee

Efforts to build an anti-BJP front ahead of the 2019 general elections are expected to gather pace with West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) president Mamata Banerjee beginning meetings with opposition leaders in the capital Tuesday.

TMC chief Mamata Banerjee met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and RJD MP Misa Bharti in New Delhi.

Reacting on the leaked election dates of Karnataka Assembly polls, Banerjee said all institutions were becoming BJP institutions as the saffron party was "using and misusing" multiple agencies.

On meeting Sonia Gandhi, with whom the Trinamool Congress shares a warm rapport, Mamata said that she would meet the UPA chief "once she is fine". Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who is keen on a third front, had met Banerjee earlier this month. The way Opposition leaders are being harassed is proof that the BJP wants to annihilate us. "I was a part of that government, even now there are some good people but they are sidelined".

"Yes, Soniaji is not well right now and recovering".

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Banerjee was belligerent against the BJP which, she said, ran a "dictatorial, anti-people and communal government".

The programme of the meetings is to be drawn up Tuesday afternoon, but sources told ThePrint that since Sonia was unwell, she might meet the TMC chief Wednesday. "We should help them", Mr Banerjee told reporters after her meetings with leaders from different political parties at the parliament house complex. At a press conference later, she said, "I am ready to speak to Maya-Akhilesh. We celebrate all kinds of festivals and rituals starting from Durga Puja to Ramadan and Christmas but always maintain peace and harmony", she claimed. Referring to media reports of the state BJP chief allegedly carrying a sword while participating in a Ram Navami rally at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district, a senior police officer said they were verifying the video footage of the procession.

On 24 March, when Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu slammed as "a bid to spread lies" BJP president Amit Shah's letter questioning the use of funds released by the Centre, Mamata was again quick to respond.

In recent weeks, Ms Banerjee also had engagements with other regional leaders including Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi), Mayawati (BSP) and Arvind Kejriwal (AAP).

They may have been reduced to less that 50 seats in the Lok Sabha, but Congress is still a national party and seen as principle opposition to the BJP.

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