The Karnataka assembly election results have led to a rethink by the Opposition camp leaders, some of whom were against the Congress playing a central role in a proposed front against the BJP, on the electoral strategy for the big 2024 elections. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who recently announced the Trinamool Congress would go it alone in Bengal, has proposed a working solution for the Opposition parties to resolve differences, and the plan includes Congress.
The Trinamool chief has often called for Opposition unity but also blamed the Congress for rallying against her party and helping the BJP in West Bengal.
Ms Banerjee, during a press conference at the state secretariat Nabanna, reiterated that regional parties should get a more significant role in the 2024 fight against the BJP, but this time, she also roped in the Congress.
"Wherever regional parties are strong, the BJP cannot fight. The Karnataka verdict is a verdict against the BJP. People are antagonised. Atrocities are happening. The economy is ruined. Democratic rights are being bulldozed and even the wrestlers are not being spared," Mamata Banerjee said.
The Congress on Saturday registered a massive victory in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly polls , by winning 135 seats. The BJP bagged 65 and JD(S) got 19 seats.
Pitching her new strategy, Mamata Banerjee said, "In this situation, Whoever is strong in some place, in their region, they should fight together. Let's take Bengal. In Bengal, we (Trinamool) should fight. In Delhi, AAP should fight. In Bihar, they are together. Nitishji (Nitish Kumar), Tejashwi (Yadav) and Congress are together. They will decide. I cannot decide on their formula. In Chennai, they (MK Stalin's DMK and the Congress) have a friendship and they can fight together. In Jharkhand also, they (JMM-Congress) are together and in other states also. So it is their choice."
However, Mamata Banerjee made it clear that while regional parties should take on the BJP in their strongholds, the Congress should focus on winning its own seats. "But I think wherever the regional parties are strong, whether it's UP, Bihar or Odisha, or Bengal, or Jharkhand or Andhra Pradesh or Telangana, there are so many states, the strong party must be given priority. And wherever Congress is strong in their 200 seats or something, what we have calculated, let them fight and we will support them."
Ms Banerjee also asserted that the Congress needs to support the regional parties. "But they have to see that they have to support other political parties also. I support you for Karnataka but you are fighting against me every day. That should not be the policy. This is for everybody. If you want some good thing, then you have to sacrifice yourself also in some areas," Mamata Banerjee said while pitching a strategy to defeat the BJP in 2024.
"Suppose it is in UP, then Akhilesh (Yadav) has to get priority. Ajit Singh is also there and there is a combination. I am not saying Congress should not fight there. Let us decide. It is not at the final stage. When this matter is discussed, we can discuss this matter in detail. Now everybody is thinking something," Ms Banerjee said, hinting that the Congress is very much a part of discussions when it comes to an Opposition front.
"There should be a level playing ground to save the country, save democracy and save the people of this country," Mamata Banerjee added when asked if the Congress should drop its big-brotherly attitude towards regional parties.
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) recently said the two parties would stay away from both the Congress, and indicated possible talks with other regional players ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.