West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee made her national ambitions clear at a rally in Kolkata on Thursday, saying the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was the only alternative for the nation.
Read: Mamata’s game plan after BJP victory
The TMC, which has 19 parliamentarians in the 15th Lok Sabha, is trying hard to shed its regional image. Besides Bengal, it will fight the general elections from Kerala and Tripura, two strongholds of the Left Front.
Banerjee had in the past joined hands with both the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, but parted ways with them over differences.
Claiming that she was not hungry for power, Banerjee pledged to fight for a Federal Front outside Bengal. "We will take a leading role."
The idea of an alternative front, raked up now and again by the Left, has been doing the rounds for quite some time. It has failed to find takers in the past owing to conflicting interests of regional parties.
Why is Mamata silent on Modi? questions CPI-M
The Bengal chief minister sought a change in Delhi "just as we wanted parivartan (change) in Bengal". The TMC had ended the 34-year Left rule in the state by coming to power in 2011 assembly elections.
Surrounded by a score of intellectuals and minority clerics, Banerjee, who had quit the Congress to form the TMC in 1997, stressed the "chalo Delhi" slogan.
Under fire for a spate of rape cases in Bengal, Mukherjee asked why the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) were silent when women were assaulted in Muzaffarnagar relief camps in Uttar Pradesh.