Congress leader Kamal Nath on Wednesday described West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the leader of the country who defeated all her opponents, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Central agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, in the recently-held Assembly elections in West Bengal.
When asked by reporters on the possibility of the Trinamool chief being pitted against the Prime Minister in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Madhya Pradesh Congress president said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would decide its electoral face at an appropriate time.
"Mamata Banerjee is the leader of our country today. She has become the Chief Minister of West Bengal for the third time in a row. She has reached this stage after a tough fight in the unprecedented assembly election," he said.
Kamal Nath said Mamata Banerjee had to fight against the Central government, PM Modi, his ministers, as well as the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax Department.
"Yet she has kicked all them away ('sabko lath markar bhaga diya')," he said.
Asked if Ms Banerjee could be projected as the Opposition's face against PM Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Kamal Nath said, "We don't know that right now. This will be decided by the UPA".
Referring to the BJP's protest against 'political violence' in West Bengal after the election results, the former Chief Minister said, "Now they (BJP leaders) are trying to say that violence is happening in Bengal. Adopting violent ways is very wrong. I have also spoken to Mamata Banerjee over the phone and told her to ask everyone to stay away from violence."
Kamal Nath also said that during his conversation with Mamata Banerjee, he also invited her to Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier in the day, Mamata Banerjee was sworn-in as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term after securing a massive mandate and vowed to not "give respite" to those behind political violence sweeping the state since the election results were announced.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)