Mamata-Akhilesh meeting on March 17 part of ‘third front’ bid?


Reported By: Kamalika Sengupta

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta

Last Updated: March 14, 2023, 01:03 IST

Sources say the issue of ‘central agencies threatening opposition parties’ may also come up. File pic/PTI

Sources say Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal may also invite opposition leaders to Delhi in a bid to form a united front against the BJP. However, the Congress may not be a part of these plans

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav is likely to meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on March 17 in Kolkata. While SP leaders are calling this a courtesy meeting, it assumes significance with the 2024 general elections approaching closer.

The former Uttar Pradesh CM will be in Kolkata for two days to attend party meetings, say sources.

Akhilesh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee share a close relationship, say sources. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson also travelled to UP to campaign for the Samajwadi Party in the 2022 assembly elections eventually won by the Bharatiya Janata Party in a landslide. Akhilesh too had earlier supported Mamata in her 2021 re-election bid in the West Bengal polls.

Sources say Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal may also invite opposition leaders to Delhi in a bid to form a united front against the BJP. However, the Congress may not be a part of these plans.

The TMC and AAP do not have good relations with the Congress. There was a war of words between Congressโ€™s Rahul Gandhi and Trinamoolโ€™s Abhishek Banerjee around the recent Meghalaya elections.

Sources say, while the TMC and AAP want to take on the BJP, they donโ€™t wish to cede any room to the Congress.

While Mamata Banerjee hasnโ€™t explicitly stated that she doesnโ€™t wish to work with the Congress, the bitterness between the two parties has sporadically come to the fore, particularly since Trinamool has โ€œpoached” several Congress leaders in its bid to expand its national influence.

However, a TMC leader said, โ€œIn 1977 (when the Indira Gandhi-led Congress was defeated by the Janata alliance), where was opposition unity before elections? People are unhappy with the BJP and they will go.”

The Mamata-Akhilesh meeting further fuels the buzz of non-Congress opposition parties planning to take on the BJP individually in their own bastions.

Sources say the issue of โ€œcentral agencies threatening opposition parties” may also come up.

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