Mamata heads south for allies, calls up YSRC leader

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Kolkata, July 9: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has decided not to keep herself limited to eastern India while exploring the possibility of forming a Federal Front but also to test new allies. According to a report published in Anandabazar Patrika, the West Bengal chief minister called up YS Vijayamma, wife of the later chief minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

The YSR Congress later said that it had agreed with the TMC chief to fight against the Congress. The YSR Congress was founded by the late Congress chief minister's son Jaganmohan Reddy after a fallout with the high command. The YSR Congress has emerged into a major opposition to the ruling Congress in Andhra and will pose a stiff challenge to the latter in the next Lok Sabha and assembly polls, both scheduled next year.

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Banerjee, on the other hand, was also having talks with AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

But why is the TMC supremo trying to find new allies? According to the report, she was initially thinking of setting up an alliance with leaders like Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik and Mulayam Singh Yadav. But the Congress's wooing Nitish after the latter ended all relations with the BJP and the Samajwadi Party's alleged overtures at the Left parties have apparently discouraged Banerjee.

She is hence trying to discover new anti-Congress forces for she strongly believes that the Congress is going to fare poorly in the next Lok Sabha polls and thus wants to capitalise on this aspect. She is not ready to join the NDA either for she fears it could put her minority votebank in jeopardy.

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