Hectic parleys are underway to stitch an 'anti-BJP' front ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The idea is to form an alliance of regional parties that can take on the BJP juggernaut. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are travelling across the country, meeting leaders and discussing plans to make this a reality. It is not, however, clear if this so-called anti-BJP front wants to include Congress or not. No clear statements have made in this regard so far.
In the latest development, K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday (April 29) met DMK president M Karunanidhi at his residence and dined with MK Stalin while the two spoke to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee over the phone.
KCR said, as per a News 18 report, after the meeting, "We have been sharing ideas with Mamata Banerjee. We will also meet Chandrababu Naidu. We are good friends. The parties who are going to join us and who will leave us is a decision that will be taken in the future. I was lucky to have Karunanidhi's blessings as he is one of the tallest leader of the country."
Stalin too said that his party "endorsed" the efforts of Mamata Banerjee to bring together various parties against the BJP, News 18 reported.
Mamata Banerjee had in march met Congress' Sonia Gandhi and both leaders held discussions on plans to stop the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Banerjee, who was in Delhi for a few days in march, said that the Congress should help the 'anti-BJP' front which the regional parties are trying to forge.
Banerjee is leaving no stone unturned to galvanise the opposition parties for a united fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On March 27, the TMC supremo visited Parliament and met leaders of several opposition parties, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena parliamentarian Sanjay Raut. A week before that, TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao called on Banerjee in Kolkata and both stressed on the need for a front comprising of regional parties to stop the BJP. KCR had earlier called for a non-BJP and non-Congress front.
Shiv Sena's move also needs to be closely watched. Shiv Sena is still part of the NDA but the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has been one of the most severe critics of the Modi government. Shiv Sena, one of oldest allies of the BJP, has time and again come out in the open to criticise the BJP. Sanjay Raut had even hinted that they may contest 2019 polls on their own.
Is this new front in making keen to include the Congress or not is something that needs to be seen. They may have been reduced to less than 50 seats in the Lok Sabha, but Congress is still a national party and seen as principle opposition to the BJP. Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily had last month said that any attempt form an anti-BJP front without Congress is "not desirable".