Two days after she called all non-Congress and non-Bharatiya Janata Party parties to come together and form a federal front before the next Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee said here on Wednesday that she had spoken to the Chief Ministers of Bihar and Odisha in this regard.
“I had a talk with Naveenji [Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha] and Nitishji [Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar]. When they give a positive message, we will decide on a venue and discuss the matter,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee was addressing journalists at the State Secretariat after a meeting with K.C. Tyagi, secretary general of the Janata Dal (United), a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), who had called on her.
“Nitishji has agreed that the formation of a federal front will be good for the States and the country,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding that leaders of two to three regional parties, like Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), have met her in the past.
“Some parties may be with the NDA or the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] but it does not mean that they will remain with the same alliance always… Anyone can change any time,” she said, with Mr. Tyagi standing by her side.
Stating that as “friends,” leaders of regional parties can always talk to each other, Ms. Banerjee said the developments during the day were the result of her “appeal” made through Facebook urging non-Congress, non-BJP regional parties to form a front before the Lok Sabha polls.
Though Mr. Tyagi said his meeting with Ms. Banerjee was a “courtesy call” and talked about the long relationship between Mr. Kumar and her, he pointed out later on his way out of the Secretariat that the Trinamool would not lead the proposed front. “Mamataji will be part of the front and not the pilot,” he said.
“We are going to have a meeting of our party in the next two to three days. We will respond after that,” Mr. Tyagi said, adding, “Till today we are in the NDA.”