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Trinamool to go its own way; Congress no big boss of opposition: Sudip Bandyopadhyay

Says Mamata Banerjee will meet powerful regional parties to fight the BJP

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Salil Bera West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee | Salil Bera

The Trinamool Congress will go its own way, maintaining distance from both the Congress and BJP, senior TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said on Friday after a meeting of party leaders.

He, however, said the party was not "talking of a third front at the moment", while warning that the Congress should not believe it was the big boss of the opposition.

Following the meeting at TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee's residence, Bandopadhyay said in the coming days, the party would hold deliberations with "powerful regional parties" to formulate a strategy to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

The TMC is also planning to bring together the former allies of the BJP, he said.

"We will go our own way, maintain distance from the Congress and the BJP. We are not talking about forming any third front at the moment... The Congress should not feel that it is the big boss of the opposition front," he told reporters.

Bandyopadhyay claimed that the Congress which is playing the role of the C team of BJP should give regional parties their due honour.

“Mamata Banerjee will meet powerful regional parties to fight the BJP," Bandopadhyay said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav met Banerjee during the day, while she will call on Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik on March 23, he said.

Asked if the party will consider the Congress as an ally for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the TMC MP said, "In West Bengal, the CP(IM), Congress and the BJP issue statements together, work together. They accuse the Mamata Banerjee government together in the same voice. How could we go for an adjustment?”

Stressing that the Trinamool Congress can go it alone, Bandyopadhyay said it is difficult to accept that the Congress will join hands with the BJP while fighting local polls, and then want to partner with the TMC for Lok Sabha elections.

He said that both in panchayat polls slated for this year and in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year, the party would prove to the country how it can single-handedly stop the BJP in West Bengal.

The BJP wants to make Rahul Gandhi the face of the opposition to make it easier for Narendra Modi to win the elections, he claimed.

The TMC MP from Kolkata Uttar Lok Sabha constituency said that the face of the opposition should be decided after the polls are over.

As several allies of the BJP have left it after the last Lok Sabha elections, the TMC is thinking of bringing them together with it.

"In the last Lok Sabha elections, 18 parties were there with the BJP. At the moment, several of them have left the NDA and their stance at this juncture is nowhere. We will certainly take some initiative to combine those forces with us to fight the elections in the 2024 elections," Bandyopadhyay added.

He said in Friday's meeting, the issue of the upcoming panchayat election in the state was not raised.

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