There is no United Progressive Alliance (UPA) now, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared on Wednesday after a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai. She is on a three-day visit to the city to meet leaders of the Shiv Sena and NCP.
“There is an environment of fascism in the country today. A strong alternative needs to be given against it. Nobody can do it alone. Those who are strong should be taken together,” Banerjee said, according to media reports.
To a query on whether Pawar will lead the UPA, she said, “What UPA? There is no UPA now. We will decide it together.”
Hours after Banerjee’s statement, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal replied by saying “defeating BJP without Congress is merely a dream”.
“Everybody knows the reality of Indian politics. Thinking that without Congress anybody can defeat BJP is merely a dream,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The next general elections are slated for 2024, and it seems that Banerjee, Trinamool Congress chief, is planning a fresh line-up for the Opposition.
Pawar, when asked if Congress will be part of any new grouping, said: “Be it the Congress or any other party, the thing is that those who are against BJP, if they’ll come together, they’re welcome.”
But to a question on an alternative alliance excluding the Congress, Banerjee said: “What Sharadji said is that there should be a strong alternative of those who fight. What do we do if one is not fighting? We feel that everyone should fight.”
Pleased to meet Hon’ble CM of West Bengal Smt @MamataOfficial at my Mumbai residence. We Discussed various issues. We agreed upon the need to strengthen the collective efforts and commitment towards safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the betterment of our people. pic.twitter.com/ryrVH2hD6N
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) December 1, 2021
Pawar tweeted a photograph of his meeting with Banerjee at his residence. “Pleased to meet Hon’ble CM of West Bengal Smt @MamataOfficial at my Mumbai residence. We Discussed various issues. We agreed upon the need to strengthen the collective efforts and commitment towards safeguarding democratic values and ensuring the betterment of our people,” his tweet read.
Late on Tuesday, Banerjee had met Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut.