Kolkata: With TMC chief Mamata Banerjee indicating that she is ready to play a bigger role in national politics, several parties have welcomed the suggestion, saying there is a need to fight against BJP and its "communal politics".
That she is willing to play a bigger role in national politics by forming an alliance against BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was reflected in her recent statement. "I am appealing to all political parties. I have to tell all my friends to come together and sit together. Let us fight together," she has said.
Congress, JD(U), Samajwadi Party and AAP welcomed her comments which came in the backdrop of a series of incidents that rocked national politics last week.
"We have been fighting alone. If anybody comes, it is up to them. Whatever is happening is not in the spirit of federalism and our country. Questioning the government doesn't make you anti-national. Nobody should question our patriotism. We all love our country. No one is anti-Indian," she has said.
Banerjee came down heavily on the Centre and compared the situation with Emergency in the wake of incidents like the killing of eight SIMI activists in Bhopal in an alleged encounter, detention of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and the ban on NDTV India.
Political observers say that by slamming the Modi government over the detention of Gandhi, Banerjee apparently made a subtle move to warm up to Congress again.
When contacted, a senior AICC leader told PTI, "I personally feel we all should unite against BJP and I don't have a problem with TMC's proposal. But the final call regarding our party's policy and stand will be taken by our party high command."
JD(U) Chief General Secretary and National Spokesperson K C Tyagi said, "We had supported Mamata Banerjee earlier and she too had supported us. If there is a secular front by Mamata di, JD(U) would be happy to participate in it. All the secular and like-minded forces, including Congress, need to unite to fight against BJP and its communal politics."
He said, "The communalism of BJP and RSS is a threat to the idea of secular India."
Echoing Tyagi, SP General Secretary Amar Singh said, "We welcome her (Banerjee's) statement. Whatever she has said is absolutely right. We share a very cordial relationship with her.
"The time has come for secular minded parties to unite against the communal politics of love jihad, cow protection,
Ghar Wapsi," he said.
An AAP spokesperson said, "Our leader Arvind Kejriwal and TMC supremo Mamata di share a very cordial relationship but the policy decision will be taken by our party leadership."
BJP, however, ridiculed any such move and said Banerjee should look after her own state before "dreaming" about
"She should stop dreaming about playing a role in national politics and concentrate in her own state. She should first manage her own state.
"Under TMC and Banerjee's appeasement politics, West Bengal has turned into a safe heaven for Jihadis. Law and order has completely failed in 12 districts," BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is in-charge of Bengal, said.
Banerjee's outbursts against the Modi government has taken the political community by surprise as the party had been maintaining a stoic silence on various issues for the past one year like Lalitgate, Vyapyam scam, political crises in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh and the killing of Mohammed Akalaq in Uttar Pradesh.
A senior TMC leader said the move was not sudden and has been done with an eye on 2019 Lok Sabha election.
"Whatever our supremo has said is a proposal. It is for other like-minded secular parties to take their call. We want to unite the secular forces and parties across the country. TMC will play a pivotal role and act as a glue to hold the secular forces together," he said.
He said the political posturing of the party would be more aggressive after the outcome of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election next year.
The TMC leader said, "As time passes, the call for anti-BJP platform will gain momentum. We want to fill that vacuum of the opposition space nationally. The anti-BJP platform cannot be formed without TMC."
TMC MP Saugata Roy said, "It is not right that we had maintained silence. Our party's standpoint and policies can't be decided by other parties."
Asked to comment on Banerjee's earlier attempts to form a federal front which did not materialise, he said, "Just because you have not been able to taste success earlier doesn't mean that you won't get it this time."
TMC leaders said Banerjee's attacks on Modi government would also serve the purpose of countering CPI-M's allegation that she is "playing a fixed political match" with BJP over the Narada and Saradha scams.
The CPI(M) leadership, however, termed the statements by Banerjee as a "gimmick" to fool the people.
"All of a sudden she realises that there is a Emergency- like situation. What were they (TMC) doing for last one year ? Actually these statements are nothing but a political gimmick to fool the masses.
"The TMC and BJP have lot of things in common," a CPI(M) leader said.