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Mamata dials Sharad Pawar amid bitter row with BJP; Oppn leaders side with TMC

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Kolkata, Dec 21: Amid the intensifying fight between the BJP and the TMC in West Bengal ahead of the assembly polls, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has joined several other opposition leaders to side with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her battle against the saffron camp and the Centre.

Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar

Trinamool Congress sources on Monday said that the party is mulling to organise a mega rally of opposition leaders in Kolkata as part of its effort to prop up an anti- BJP front, but nothing has been finalised as of now.

"Sharad Pawar and Mamata Banerjee share a very cordial relationship since their days in the Congress. During a telephone talk, Sharadji expressed his support to her. He has also expressed his desire to come to Bengal and campaign in favour of the TMC," a senior party leader privy to the development said.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) national spokesperson Nawab Malik also alleged in Mumbai earlier in the day that the BJP is using the Centre to destabilise the West Bengal government.

Pawar and Banerjee held a discussion on the issue, he said.

Captain Amarinder Singh, Arvind Kejriwal, Bhupesh Baghel and Ashok Gehlot, chief ministers of Punjab, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan respectively, recently alleged that the Centre''s order transferring three IPS officers on deputation is interference in the functioning of West Bengal''s administration.

While Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan are governed by the Congress, Delhi is ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin has also described the "unilateral transfer" of three West Bengal IPS officers by the BJP-led central government as "autocratic and anti-federal".

The three IPS officers were responsible for the security of BJP national president J P Nadda whose convoy was attacked by alleged Trinamool Congress activists during his recent visit to West Bengal where Assembly polls are due in April-May next year.

Banerjee, who is opposing the Centre''s move, on Sunday expressed gratitude to these opposition leaders for voicing solidarity with the state on the issue.

A senior TMC leader said that the party is planning to hold a mega anti-BJP rally ahead of the assembly polls.

"Nothing has been finalised as of now. We are thinking if such a rally could be organised. Let''s see what happens. We also have to keep the COVID situation in mind," the leader said.

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