New Delhi: With the general election just a couple of months away, Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the Opposition parties, including the Congress, had decided to form a pre-poll alliance at the national level so that they can stake claim to forming the government as a bloc in case they get the numbers in the next Lok Sabha.
In case of a hung verdict, the general practice is that the President calls the group or party which emerges as the single largest bloc in the Lok Sabha.
The West Bengal chief minister also said that the parties would meet again on February 26-27 to deliberate on a draft common minimum programme which was being formulated by the Congress. The decisions on the CMP and the pre-poll alliance were taken at a meeting of top Opposition leaders on Wednesday night, who included, besides Ms Banerjee, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. On Thursday, the West Bengal CM told the media: “We will fight each other in states but at the national level we must go in for pre-poll alliances... so after the elections we can stake claim to forming the government”.
Asked whether she was ready to be in an alliance with the Left parties, her arch-rivals, she said: “Whether the Left will be in the alliance or not I don’t know, because we did not talk. Whoever was there yesterday — Farooq Abdullah, Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi and me — we decided.”
“If somebody cannot take a political stand now, we do not want to force them. I understand their political compulsions. We respect them. After the elections they will decide. That is no problem at all”, she added.
Asked about the existing contradictions within the Opposition’s ranks such as the Congress and the AAP, Ms Banerjee said what she had heard was that the AAP was ready for an alliance with the Congress. “Let the Congress decide.” Then she added: “But the AAP is strong in Delhi, we have to help them.”
Earlier on Thursday morning, Mr Kejriwal revealed that the Congress had “nearly said no” to an alliance. “We are very worried about the nation, so we are more keen (on an alliance)”. Asked if the AAP was more eager about an alliance with the Congress, Mr Kejriwal said the BJP “would benefit in a three-cornered contest”.
Asked how the Opposition will convince people if they fight each other in the states and ally at the national level, the Trinamul chief said: “All people of the state are very intelligent. They know who can win elections and how to fight the BJP. Please leave it to the people. They are the real asset. In the states, the people know whom to vote for and how to vote. Leave it to the people”.