New Delhi: Forming a unified Opposition against the BJP seems to be a tricky affair as cracks have already begun to appear in the Opposition. The Trinamul Congress has dealt the first blow to the unity initiative by mounting pressure to make West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee the face of the anti-BJP alliance. In a strong message, Banerjee will skip the Opposition meeting called by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on February 1 and a dinner on February 9.
She had also skipped the meeting called by NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday. The party claimed it had not been invited.
TMC sources said that since the meeting has been called by Mrs Gandhi, who is CPP leader, TMC will send its own parliamentary party leaders Derek O’ Brien and Sudip Bandopadhyay. It is evident that the TMC supremo is asserting her claim over the leadership of any alliance. “It is only natural that only someone with impeccable credentials can play the lead role in 2019,” O’ Brien said.
Trinamul has indicated to Congress leaders that the leader of the proposed Opposition alliance should be a sitting CM or a former Union minister or chief of a political party. In the current scenario, the only CMs who fit the bill are Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Banerjee. TMC sources also questioned AAP’s absence from the Opposition unity plank.
On Tuesday, the party sent its representative MP Dinesh Trivedi to a programme called by Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha but skipped a book release function of Congress leader P. Chidambaram.
Mounting more pressure on the Congress, the TMC has also refused a seat-sharing offer from the Congress in Tripura. Sources said that the Congress had offered TMC five seats in Tripura, all in the tribal belt. However, Trinamul was not interested in any alliance as a junior partner....