West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee left Delhi on Friday after a five-day visit packed with meetings with opposition leaders including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. On her way out, Ms Banerjee said, "I will return to the national capital once every two months."
She called her Delhi visit "successful" - the first after her Trinamool Congress retained power in West Bengal in the assembly election - in what is being seen as her testing the water before wading deeper into national politics.
"Democracy must go on," Ms Banerjee said, news agency PTI reported. "The visit was successful. Met a lot of my colleagues for political reasons. We met for political purpose. Democracy must go on. Our slogan is 'save democracy, save country'. I will come here every two months," Ms Banerjee said before leaving for her nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee's home.
The Chief Minister said she also spoke with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on phone. "Today I talked to Sharad ji also. He went to Mumbai. Next time we will be meeting also," she said. "...To save democracy everyone must work together. The country is the most important thing to work for. If democracy is at threat, the country is under threat. Save democracy and save the nation."
"There cannot be anything better than opposition unity for a political purpose. I couldn't meet every leader that I wanted to because of Covid protocols. However, the outcome of the meetings has been good. Let us work together," Ms Banerjee said.
Her meetings have raised speculation about a possible united opposition before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
In their first interaction since the Congress and the Trinamool contested as rivals in the Bengal election in April-May, Ms Banerjee met with Mrs Gandhi on Wednesday in a significant sign that the opposition moves to join forces for a united fight in the 2024 national election.
Since her Bengal victory, Mamata Banerjee has emerged as a pivotal figure in the opposition's attempts to consolidate anti-BJP forces ahead of the next general election.