Mamata announces new secular front to fight CPI-M
Mamata Banerjee declares a new 16-party secular democratic alliance to take on the ruling CPI-M led Left Front in future elections.kolkata Updated: Dec 30, 2007 17:28 IST
Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Sunday declared a new 16-party secular democratic alliance to take on the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front in future elections in West Bengal.
With the Panchayat elections in the state scheduled in May 2008, Banerjee announced the formation of Progressive Secular Democratic Front (PSDF) with 16 political parties but none of the outfits outside her Trinamul Congress has much of an electoral presence in West Bengal.
Congress, which leads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre with the support of the CPI-M-led Left Front, is not part of the new political group. And so is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to woo Muslims.
"I declare the formation of PSDF to fight the atrocities of the CPI-M. We have seen how the CPI-M is making a mockery of democracy - whether it is in Singur, Nandigram or in cases like the death of Rizwanur Rahman. We will henceforth fight the CPI-M unitedly," she told reporters here.
Besides Trinamul Congress, PSDF includes Samajwadi Party (Mulayam Singh), Janata Dal-United, Janata Dal-Secular, Indian Union Muslim League, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha among others. Some small communist parties are also part of the front.
"We have a steering committee and convenors and henceforth we will take all decisions jointly," Banerjee said.
Without naming Congress, Banerjee took a pot shot at the party for its alleged double standards.
"Some parties don't believe in taking part in the people's struggles throughout the year but go for local alliance when it comes to grabbing power in municipalities or boards. I make it clear that from now onwards one has to negotiate with PSDF before entering into any such local adjustments," Banerjee said.
"We don't approve of any selfish politics."
"We have agreed upon a common minimum agenda too. The front will now officiate from the Trinamul Congress office (on Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in eastern Kolkata)."
Mamata's front has left out the BJP as the Trinamul leader is eyeing huge Muslim votes in West Bengal, especially after the recent anger of the minority community against the ruling communists over Nandigram, Taslima Nasreen issue and Rizwanur Rahman case.
"We are for the people and we will fight to restore the democratic rights of people now usurped by the CPI-M," she said.