West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will also get in on the action of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections slated to be held soon. She will hold a press conference with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday, and make an appeal to the people to vote for the SP.
The Bengal CM will reach capital Lucknow on Monday evening.
With Akhilesh and Mamata set to share the stage tomorrow, the development is being looked at from the lens of the parties clubbing against the Congress, which is viewed as the principal opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Mamata had defeated the BJP in the state’s assembly elections held last year, and has since attempted to project herself as the face of a united opposition against the national party. However, the party has been unclear on its standing with Congress, with altered stances at various incidents.
Now, this move of Mamata lending support to Akhilesh for the UP elections is her attempt towards a strong ‘anti-Congress, and BJP’ face ahead of the 2024 challenge.
Even though the TMC does not have any impact in the Uttar Pradesh elections, her decision to be in Lucknow and hold a press conference with Akhilesh is indicative of her national ambitions, as in the politically-crucial state of UP, the bonhomie between the two represents a larger national picture.
Banerjee’s gesture to lend ‘unconditional support’ to SP, while the TMC not contesting from any UP constituency, signaled that she may have moved on from the political embarrassment she suffered in the hands of Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav back in June 2012 over the issue of supporting Manmohan Singh or APJ Abdul Kalam’s candidature as President of India.
That was when both leaders had initially come together against the UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee – or, at least, Banerjee making that claim — for presidential polls but the SP chief made a last-minute somersault to support Mukherjee while leaving Banerjee lonely and red-faced.
SP’s national vice president and Akhilesh Yadav’s emissary, Kiranmoy Nanda had earlier told News18, “Mamata Banerjee is not just a chief minister of a state or the chairperson of a party. She is the face of anti-BJP politics at the national level. That’s why we wanted her support and she agreed to extend her hand.”
The senior leader, however, avoided a direct answer to whether the Samajwadi Party would like to see Banerjee as a possible prime ministerial face for the Opposition camp in the 2024 general elections. “Let the 2022 state elections get over. Then we will see,” Nanda told News18.
With inputs from News18