Nitish seeks Didi’s ‘mamata’ for PM dream

BJP calls meeting between Bihar CM and West Bengal CM as politics of opportunism

NEW DELHI | Updated: 24 April, 2023 5:25 pm IST
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Bihar Dy CM Tejashwi Yadav at Nabanna on Monday

It was a meeting that was ostensibly held to drum up efforts to unite the opposition ahead of the 2024 general election. But the meeting of Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee has more than met the eye.

Kumar, along with Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, met the mercurial Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee at Nabanna in Kolkata on Monday.

Meanwhile, Amit Malviya, BJP co-in-charge for West Bengal, termed the meeting as politics of opportunism as he reminded how once Banerjee called Kumar a traitor.

“It is ironic that Mamata Banerjee, who once called Nitish Kumar “gaddar” in a rally in Patna for not backing her campaign against demonetisation, is today speaking about opposition unity. It tells you a lot about both Mamata and Nitish’s politics of opportunism,” Malviya said.

While none of them said it in exact words, it is learned that Kumar discussed the possibility of him becoming the united opposition’s candidate for the post of Prime Minister in next year’s general election.

Talking about the meeting, Banerjee said, “We spoke about development and also about politics.” “We share a very good relationship. For a few years, I couldn’t come,” Kumar added.

While he has publicly denied any such aspirations, it is no secret that the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader holds such a dream.

It is learned that both Kumar and Banerjee are trying to hold a strategy meeting in Bihar with all the opposition parties together. Banerjee acknowledged that if such a meeting were held, it would bring about a significant change in the equation among opposition political parties.

“I have requested Nitishji to hold an all-opposition meeting in Bihar. It will deliver a message of opposition togetherness and unity,” Banerjee said.

“BJP has media support and built false narratives. This can’t continue. Nitishji and I are speaking with others too. We want to work collectively. All opposition parties will work together,” she added.

Kumar further said, “Opposition parties should sit together and discuss future actions. People who have the responsibility to govern are just doing propaganda for themselves. No work or development is happening. We all have to be alert, as we do not know when they will change history.”

Malviya, on the other hand, termed the meeting more important because both Banerjee and Kumar are trying to stay relevant in politics after losing ground to the BJP in recent times.

“Mamata Banerjee should worry about losing ground in Bengal. Last time, the BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats, and that number will be 35 this time,” Malviya said.

“The less we say about Nitish Kumar, the better. With 40 or so MLAs, he managed to remain as Bihar CM because the BJP chose to honour its commitment, only for him to backstab later. The people of Bihar and West Bengal will respond to them,” he added.

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