Mamata launches 12-party secular front

Mamata Banerjee started the secular front with BJP to fight the Left Front in the next assembly election.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2006 18:58 IST

Keeping the door open for Congress, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday kickstarted a 12-party "secular" front with BJP and some other left and rightist parties to fight the Left Front in the next assembly election in West Bengal.

"From now on, the Paschimbanga Ganatantrik Front will workjointly in the ensuing election to dislodge the Marxists from power," Banerjee said at a press conference in Kolkata.

She said though the front came into being two months ago mainly to protest conversion of agricultural land for industrial use by the Left Front government, it would function as a political front from Wednesday.

She also announced a common minimum agenda which, she said, constituted the broad outlines of an election manifesto of the the front.

The CMA stressed on employment generation, 'restoration of democratic rights', industrialisation with proper infrastructure, job reservation for minorities, SC/ST and other backward classes.

In a rebuff to the Congress demand that she should leave NDA and give leadership to a secular democratic front for the elections, Banerjee stuck to her party's alliance with BJP and said her version of the secular front was genuine. "We believe in real secularism and not in so-called secularism."

Banerjee said she was hopeful that Congress would respond to her call to join a mahajot (grand alliance) and would not miss the opportunity to put up a one-to-one fight against the CPI-M.

She said Congress should not have any inhibitions on ousting the Left Front. "National politics and state politics should not be mixed up".

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 20:23 IST