In the weeks and months leading up to the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appears to be positioning herself to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi head-to-head. Mamata Banerjee is on a 5-day visit to New Delhi after her victory in the West Bengal polls.
During her visit to New Delhi, the West Bengal chief minister met key opposition leaders. CM Banerjee has, however, not yet commented on whether she plans to oppose PM Modi. On Republic TV’s ‘The Debate’ with Arnab Goswami, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra threw an open challenge at the West Bengal CM. Sambit Patra, during the #MamataVsModi discussion on Republic TV, issued an open challenge, saying, ‘Mamata Banerjee is our candidate for Prime Minister in 2024. If Mamata Banerjee is picked as the opposition coalition’s nominee for Prime Minister, we would be delighted. Who stands in their way? Mayawati can second the entire proposal, and Rahul Gandhi can second her name as well’.
Sudhindra Bhadoria of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) refused to accept the challenge and claimed that the decision for the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will be made at the appropriate time. “It is too early to make a choice for 2024,” Sudhindra Bhadoria said. ‘I am certain that when the time comes, the people of India will make the correct decision’. Without holding back, Sambit Patra recalled a gathering of Opposition leaders in Bengaluru in 2018 for HD Kumaraswamy’s oathtaking as Karnataka’s Chief Minister at the Vidhana Soudha.
He remembered how they had made similar pronouncements at the time, and brought up Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s numerous travels to see Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, sarcastically asking how things had turned out. Patra later mocked all opposition parties, suggesting that each has its own prime ministerial candidate, notably Uddhav Thackeray for the Shiv Sena, Mayawati for the BSP, and the Badals for the Akali Dal.
Mamata Banerjee responds to rumours of a ‘third front’
After meeting with Prime Minister Modi in Delhi on Tuesday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed rumours about the formation of a third front to face the BJP-led NDA in the 2024 state elections. She attempted to justify her meeting in New Delhi with top Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma as a reunion of friends. She then went on to say that she will be meeting with Sonia Gandhi, the party’s interim president, on Wednesday.