Mamata-Kejriwal Meeting: TMC Backs AAP on Delhi Ordinance Row, Talks Also Focus on 2024 Tactics


Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his team met West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, beginning a campaign to seek support against a controversial ordinance of the Centre on transfers and postings of bureaucrats. Along with Kejriwal were several party colleagues such as Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann, Raghav Chaddha, Atishi, and Sanjay Singh.

The meeting lasted over half an hour. Afterwards, Mamata Banerjee requested all parties to support AAP and to vote against a bill based on this ordinance when it is tabled in the Rajya Sabha. She also spoke about “miracles”, maintaining that if the bill is defeated in the Upper House, the government may not be around for another six months.

“We will support AAP in fighting against the central ordinance. I am requesting all parties…my humble appeal to all, even BJP members, is to give their vote to non-BJP parties,” the Trinamool Congress chairperson said.

The Centre promulgated an ordinance on Friday to create the National Capital Civil Services Authority to decide on postings and transfers of bureaucrats and make the Lt Governor the final arbiter over such matters. It effectively took away the elected Delhi government’s executive and legislative power over services awarded to it by a five-judge Constitution Bench after an eight-year-long battle with the Centre.

Congress question

Arvind Kejriwal did not state whether he wants the Congress’s support on the matter or not. He said, “I am thankful to Didi (Mamata) that she has said that she will support us in the Rajya Sabha. We will win the semi-final. This government at the Centre is undemocratic. They either try to topple opposition governments by buying MLAs or intimidate through ED and CBI. This ordinance vote will be the semi-final and we have to win.”

Kejriwal and his team will next head towards Maharashtra. How the opposition resists the central government’s move in the Rajya Sabha will be a litmus test ahead of the 2024 general elections, analysts said. And the Congress’s role in this will be crucial, they added. The Congress and AAP have a fractious relationship.

Though the AAP-TMC meeting was to seek support against the Centre’s ordinance, sources say there were discussions on opposition strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Sources on May 26, Mamata and other non-BJP chief ministers will be in Delhi, and another opposition meeting may take place.

Opposition unity efforts

Several key opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar, and Arvind Kejriwal have been trying to work out a formula to jointly take on the BJP in next year’s polls.

Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, Janata Dal (Secular)’s HD Kumaraswamy, Janata Dal (United)’s Nitish Kumar and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav have met Mamata Banerjee in recent days. The TMC chief has proposed that whichever party is strong on whichever Lok Sabha seat should put up a candidate there supported by other opposition parties to defeat the BJP.

Mamata has been vocal about opposition unity since 2016. In 2019, a big rally of opposition leaders took place in Kolkata, but the BJP cruised to a victory in the parliamentary polls that year. TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh said, “Mamata Banerjee’s theory is clear: whoever is strong in whichever area should fight the BJP. We are ready to support the Congress on 200 seats but they also have to support us. They will also have to give space to regional parties. They have to give space to Akhilesh in UP.”

This time, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has also met key opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Pawar. Nitish also met the Congress, and plans are afoot for an opposition meeting soon. Nitish seems to have a rapport with all the camps now, say analysts. The plan for the opposition to put up joint candidates against the BJP from all seats has also come up.

Kejriwal too has broached the subject of opposition unity but his equations with the Congress remain a stumbling block.

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar too has reached out to all opposition leaders, from the Congress to Mamata.

The equations between Mamata, Kejriwal, and Congress remain crucial for the 2024 contest, observers say.

There is also speculation over who can be the face of the opposition against Narendra Modi.

Speaking to News18, political strategist Prashant Kishor said a few days ago that mere meetings in the opposition camp will not pose a threat to the BJP. A narrative has to come up, which will counter the Modi narrative, he added.

Source link

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *