- Telangana Chief Minister meets his West Bengal counterpart in Kolkata
- Says a "good beginning" has been made for a "people's federal front"
- Sometimes people have to come together to work, says Mamata Banerjee
After the meeting, Mr Rao told reporters that the two leaders had come to an "understanding" that would be revealed later. Ms Banerjee, standing next to him, was more guarded: "It is not like whatever Mr Rao has said, I completely agree with that. But let him speak. If something happens you will get to know".
On March 4, Ms Banerjee had dialled Mr Rao, following his statement that he was keen to participate in national politics to bring about "qualitative changes" in governance. She had assured him that they could work together.
On Monday, the 63-year-old Bengal chief minister said, "Sometimes in politics, situations become such that people have to come together to work... We want a strong front but we are not in a hurry".
Mr Rao underscored that it will be a "federal front". Asked whether the two Chief Ministers have reached a consensus on whether the Congress could be part of it, he went on to say: "We have to change the routine. Our agenda is the development of the people. Please do not interpret things but you know that for the past 71 years, what has been happening in the country? Do you want the same thing to continue? The country needs a miracle".
Since late last year, Ms Banerjee has led the initiative to build support for a common front against the BJP. She has been in touch with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and MK Stalin, the leader of opposition in Tamil Nadu.
Ms Banerjee also had discussions with former Congress chief and Rahul Gandhi's mother Sonia Gandhi, with whom she shares a warm rapport. But her relation with her son Rahul Gandhi has been marked by coolness. There has been little interaction between the two leaders. When Mr Gandhi took charge of the Congress from his mother in December, no word of congratulation came from Kolkata.
Later this month, she is expected to meet the new Congress chief.
Regardless of the outcome of her chat with Rahul Gandhi, her party leaders have not ruled out a Congress role in a federal front. Senior Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien told NDTV that there are at least six states, including Karnataka, where the Congress is expected to beat the BJP.
Following the recent BJP defeats to Congress in the Rajasthan and the Samajwadi Party in the Uttar Pradesh by-elections, the activity in the opposition camp has shot up. Last week, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar met Rahul Gandhi; a meeting with Ms Banerjee is expected later this month. On March 14, the day the results of Uttar Pradesh by-polls came in, Sonia Gandhi had hosted a dinner with leaders of 19 opposition parties to put in place a strategy for parliament.