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Federal Front constituents must sink differences to take on BJP: Omar after meeting Mamata

Constituent parties of the proposed ‘Federal Front’ must sink their differences to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said after a meeting with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat in Kolkata.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2018 20:11 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
HT Correspondent, Kolkata
Federal Front,BJP,National Conference
With West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on his side, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said no party will be considered untouchable.(ANI/Twitter)

Constituent parties of the proposed ‘Federal Front’ have to sink their differences and work together to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha elections, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said after a meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat in Kolkata.

“We will try, as far as possible, to set aside whatever little differences we have and put the best foot forward in terms of taking the fight on to the BJP in 2019... My party and Mamata Didi’s party have got no differences to set aside,” Abdullah said, addressing the media after the meeting.

No party will be considered untouchable, emphasised Abdullah. “Our effort will be to take along all the parties that are fighting the BJP right now,” he added, when asked whether Congress will be part of the Front.

“All regional parties, who are against the BJP, are working together. One or two parties may have their own state compulsions. That’s a different issue,” said Mamata.

BJP leaders, on the other hand, scoffed at the meeting. “Omar Abdullah does not have any ground in his own state. How can he talk of forming any front?” remarked BJP national BJP secretary Rahul Sinha.

Both Banerjee and Abdullah refused to entertain questions on who will be the Prime Ministerial candidate for the new front. When asked to comment on Mamata’s prescription of a one-on-one fight with the BJP everywhere, Abdullah said, “I cannot say whether it will be possible in every state.”

The National Conference leader also said that his party will depend on Trinamool Congress to raise their issues in the Rajya Sabha. “We don’t have a representative in the Rajya Sabha. Didi asked my friend Derek O Brien to raise issues in the Rajya Sabha,” said Abdullah.

Highlighting the cooperation between the two parties, Abdullah said, “These are the small things that the parties can do for each other to make the Federal Front a reality. I wanted to discuss with her issues concerning the people, especially the fear among the minority community.”

Mamata Banerjee also alleged that the BJP’s strategy is to go for a Presidential form of election and establish dictatorship.

Commenting on the new government in Pakistan, Abdullah said it is too early to speculate. “We have seen tension at the LoC over the past couple of years now. We should wait for Imran Khan’s government to be sworn in. What he said about Pakistan taking two steps forward for every one step that India takes sounds good,” he said.

Over the past few months, Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrashekar Rao (March 19) and Gujarat’s Patidar leader Hardik Patel (February 9) met Mamata Banerjee in her office.

On July 30, Mamata Banerjee is leaving for Delhi for a three- day visit where she is expected to meet leaders of different parties and discuss the proposed anti-BJP front.

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 20:03 IST