The Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party on Friday agreed to form a front without Congress to fight Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in the upcoming General Election 2024.
SP and TMC will work unitedly to fight against the BJP nationally, senior SP leader Kiranmoy Nanda said after a meeting between chiefs of the two parties- Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav.
Yadav, Nanda who is an SP national vice-president, and other leaders called on Banerjee at her residence in Kalighat, in Kolkata and they held an hour-long closed-door meeting.
"It has been decided that the TMC and the SP would work unitedly to fight the BJP. Both the parties would also maintain distance from the Congress," Nanda told PTI after the meeting.
What Akhilesh said after meeting Mamata
Yadav said his party would maintain equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP in its fight against the saffron camp. The SP would stand firmly with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to defeat the BJP, he said.
"In Bengal, we are with Mamata didi. Right now, our stand is to maintain equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. Does Congress have any stake in Uttar Pradesh? We will continue our fight against the BJP," he said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of his party's workers' meet.
He told reporters that regional parties will chart their course of action in the days to come.
"We share a very cordial relationship with Mamata Banerjee. Naturally, the present political situation of the country was discussed during the meeting," he said.
Who will be PM face for the new front?
When asked about the role of the Congress in the opposition front, Yadav said the grand old party has to decide this on its own. "Regional parties are competent enough to decide their roles. the Congress has to decide its role. Nobody should take any step which might have any adverse impact (on fighting the BJP)," he said while adding there are several faces in the opposition camp who can become the prime minister.
The Trinamool Congress is yet to come out with any official statement on the meeting except a tweet sharing pictures of both the leaders greeting each other.
Yadav had lent his party's support to the TMC during the 2021 West Bengal assembly poll, which was reciprocated by Banerjee when she campaigned for the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister during the 2022 election in that state.
Yadav slams Centre
Earlier, while speaking at the workers' meeting, the SP chief lauded Banerjee for defeating the BJP in the West Bengal Assembly election in 2021. "The Samajwadi Party is ready to make any sacrifice to protect the country's Constitution. If we can defeat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP can be defeated across the country. We need to fight to protect the Constitution and secularism in our country," he said.
Yadav slammed the BJP-led union government for allegedly selling out the country's assets to foreign powers and private players.
"There is no accountability. Why public money of LIC and SBI was given to someone whose shares are falling daily,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said without naming the Adani Group.
The Centre does not act against such activities but is prompt in sending CBI and ED to harass leaders of opposition parties, he asserted.
Yadav claimed that the saffron camp has come up with a "BJP vaccine" which makes corrupt leaders immune once they join the party.
What Akhilesh said on Rahul Gandhi row
Reacting to the criticism that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been facing over his recent comments on foreign soil, Yadav wondered why the BJP is silent on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's recent remarks “insulting” B R Ambedkar.
"The BJP is bothered about what a Congress leader has said on foreign soil but is not worried about Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath insulting Babasaheb Ambedkar in his speech," he said