Bengal polls: RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav extends 'full support' to Mamata, no word on alliance
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav announced on Monday that his party would extend its "full support" to chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, after meeting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, but evaded the question on alliance.
Yadav said that the primary goal was to prevent the entry of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into the state. "It is Lalu Ji's decision to provide full support to Mamata Ji. Our first priority is to stop BJP from coming to power in Bengal," he said as quoted by news agency ANI.
"The biggest thing is support to courage, Tejashwi bhai is fighting, so we are fighting and vice versa," Banerjee said, appreciating Yadav's gesture.
The RJD put up an impressive performance in the recent Bihar Assembly elections. Despite not winning power in the state, the party emerged as the single largest in the state, ahead of Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) and the BJP.
The party's entry into West Bengal politics could make for an interesting election as the state has a notable population of Bihari residents. Being a border state to Bihar, several migrants have also moved to Bengal over the years. But Yadav tried to bypass the question of tie-up while speaking to reporters outside Banerjee's residence, saying the upcoming polls will be a fight for saving "ideals and values".
The Assembly elections in West Bengal will have a long polling process, spanning over eight phases and stretching over a month, as announced by the Election Commission.
The voting will start on March 27 and continue until April 29, with the results scheduled to be announced on May 2. While the ruling TMC has voiced its displeasure with the long drawn out polling process, the BJP has said that it was a necessary measure due to the lack of law and order in the state under Mamata Banerjee.
The three main candidates that are fighting for power in the state are TMC, BJP and the Left-Congress alliance.