YSR Congress supremo Jaganmohan Reddy came calling on Wednesday to seek Mamata Banerjee’s support in opposing a separate Telangana state, which gave the West Bengal chief minister an opportunity to strengthen her national ties before the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Interestingly, Mamata coined a new term, ‘United India Front’, but did not explain what it signified. She said the ‘United India Front’ came first and ‘federal front’ later.
The meeting, according to party bigwigs, is another step towards the Bengal chief minister’s initiative to woo other regional parties.
Both parties believe they will do well in their respective states in the Lok Sabha polls and believe that a consensus on issues is the building block for future partnership in the post-Lok Sabha scenario.
“Our stand is always clear. We’re always for a united India and the people of this country. Yes, there are states where there may be local demands. But our policy is very clear: we can expand the area, or expand or create more districts for development of the state or its backward regions,” said Mamata, flanked by Reddy, after an hour-long meeting at Nabanna, the new state secretariat, on Wednesday.
“For us, it’s the ‘United India Front’ which comes first. We’ll talk about a ‘federal front’ later. “We’re not for a ‘Third Front’, we’re not for ‘Secular Front’. We’re for a ‘United India Front’,” Mamata said while answering media queries.
She made it clear that she was ready to take on the Centre over issues, stating that a public consensus was necessary for such decisions, which should not be forced upon anyone. “Before the Lok Sabha polls, the people shouldn’t ne steamrolled over such decisions. Then, there would be a political motive,” she added.
Significantly, Mamata also made it clear that her party had been maintaining good relations with the YSR Congress since its inception.
“While we’re pressing for the need to amend Article 3 (of the Constitution), the immediate need is to stop the bifurcation bill when it is raised in Parliament. For this, we’ve come here and asked Didi for her support and she was kind enough to extend it… we’re very thankful to her,” Reddy said after the meeting.
Interestingly, Mamata had earlier sent Mukul Roy to meet AIADMK leaders for a consensus on protesting against the Centre’s move to privatize airports keeping the respective states in the dark.
As with Bengal, Tamil Nadu, too, was allegedly kept in the dark regarding such modernisation plans.
Mamata, herself, is battling demands for a separate Gorkhaland, and she earlier dubbed the UPA’s endorsement of Telangana as “divisive politics made with an eye to the next general elections”.
With Mamata already urging the regional parties to come together, her meeting with Reddy assumes political importance in view of the 2014 General Elections, with many observers feeling that the regional parties could play an important role in government formation at the Centre.