Pre-poll alliance in the offing: Mamata Banerjee

The Asian Age.  | Sanjay Basak

India, Politics

During the meet, NCP and Congress also finalised seat-sharing agreement for Maharashtra.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo: PRITAM BANDYOPADHYAY)

New Delhi: The Opposition parties on Wednesday spoke in one voice to declare that there would be a pre-poll alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections. The Opposition power meet came hours after the leaders, for the third time, held a show of unity and launched a scathing attack on the Modi government in the national capital itself.

West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, while announcing the possibility of striking a pre-poll alliance, indicated that the proposed “Mahagatbandhan” would also chalk out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP). “We’ll work together at the national level. We’ll have a common minimum agenda. We’ll have a pre-poll alliance,” Ms Banerjee said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “We agreed that the principal target for all of us is to prevent the assault on Indian institutions being carried out by Narendra Modi, the RSS and the BJP.”

Mr Gandhi further said that the parties agreed to hold parleys about a common minimum programme and “we have a commitment that we are all going to work together to defeat the BJP and RSS.”  

Mr Gandhi is likely to lead the drafting of the CMP. The high-powered Opposition meet was held at the residence of the NCP leader, Sharad Pawar.

Besides striking an alliance at the national level, possibilities of AAP-Congress alliance was also discussed at the meet. Speculation of these two parties coming together surfaced after Mr Gandhi and the AAP chief, Arvind Kejriwal, shared the dais for the first time at the Opposition rally on Wednesday. However, Mr Gandhi indicated that state-level alliance, whether in Delhi or West Bengal, were not discussed.

Sources revealed that Ms Banerjee, Mr Pawar and TDP chief, N. Chandrababu Naidu, were pushing for an AAP-Congress tie-up in Delhi. Mr Naidu said that there “is a democratic compulsion to save India.”

During the meet, NCP and Congress also finalised seat-sharing agreement for Maharashtra. It may be recalled that in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the two parties were in alliance and the Congress contested on 26 seats, winning two, while the NCP contested on 21 seats, and won four.