Presidential election: Mamta talks of opposition at the behest of Pawar

New Delhi: The claim of a three-time chief minister was projected as a sign of her determination to open a new chapter in opposition politics, with her party, the Trinamool Congress, replacing a listless Congress.

On Wednesday, ahead of a joint meeting called by her on the presidential election, Banerjee warmly welcomed Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala at the entrance of the venue, the moment the TMC covered the distance. did. seven months.

From poor performance in Goa assembly elections, abandonment of people like Haryana leader Ashok Tanwar within days of joining, and trouble in his home constituency West Bengal on several fronts ranging from political violence and an alleged scam in teacher recruitment, TMC seems That he has reworked his strategy.

The joint meeting, which was attended by 17 opposition parties despite the noise made by the Congress, the Left and the DMK over Banerjee’s “unilateral initiative”, was filled with signs that the TMC has realized its limitations, and is more friendly. need to be adopted. Approach – With a little nudge from Sharad Pawar.

In fact, conscious efforts were made to avoid giving the impression of it being a ‘Mamata Show’. The NCP supremo, who played a major role in reducing its aggression to the TMC, which was threatening to erase even the vaguest contours of unity in the opposition camp, presided over the meeting.

Apart from the Congress, Pawar, the force that holds together the unlikely Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress alliance in Maharashtra, also managed to bring in the Left, which has bitter equations with the TMC, for his offer to “sit down”. Together on the board” and choose “the true guardians of our Constitution”.

In her speech at the meeting, Banerjee also attacked the BJP government over the ED’s questioning of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, comparing it to the agency’s action against her own nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee. This is a far cry from last winter, when she used to flare up at the slightest mention of the Grand Old Party.

At the same time, instead of getting annoyed at TMC’s attempt to take the pole position, the Congress has stepped back and offered Banerjee the necessary space to leverage her strength by reaching out to parties like TRS, YSRCP, BJD, BSP and SP. Which would be more receptive to the ideas offered by him than the party led by Sonia Gandhi.

The Shiv Sena, which appointed the two leaders in Wednesday’s meeting, is also buoyed by the new playbook written by Banerjee and Pawar. The party had in December criticized the TMC, saying that no opposition front was possible without the Congress.

The meeting, however, had its share of hiccups. Political activist Sudheendra Kulkarni read out the one-line resolution passed after the meeting ended, while the TMC has prepared a three-page draft. But it was cut short after several participants pointed out that the draft should have already been circulated.

With the next meeting of the opposition camp scheduled next week, all eyes are on Pawar, who will take the lead in hosting it after turning down a unanimous request by the leaders to be the face against the NDA candidate.

As things stand, the NDA already has over 48 per cent vote share in the electoral college to elect a new President, which appears to be the primary reason behind the reluctance of the Maratha strongman who tweeted last night, ” I am happy to continue my service for the betterment of the common man.”