A day after a long interacting with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) on Monday met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to garner her support for the proposed anti-BJP Federal Front minus Congress. Days after the landslide victory in Telangana assembly elections, TRS chief KCR met Patnaik and discussed a number of issues, including matters of national and mutual interest. The meeting lasted for more than 40 minutes.
Describing his meeting with Banerjee as a "very pleasant one", Rao said "discussions (on a Federal Front) will continue". "Discussions with didi is always there. When two political leaders meet, they definitely discuss matters of mutual interest and matters of national interest.
"We had a very pleasant discussion. We will continue our discussion. There is a dialogue which I had started yesterday. This is a unification of forces across the nation. I met Odisha's Chief Minister yesterday and today I met didi," Rao told reporters.
Banerjee, who was beside Rao at the brief media interaction, did not offer any comments about the meeting.
"A non-Congress front is my mission. I will continue my effort. This is not a small matter. Wait for the right time. The dialogue continues," said KCR after meeting Banerjee.
Telangana CM K. C Rao after meeting with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: Our dialogue will continue, very shortly we will come out with a concrete plan. We are discussing things. I will continue with my efforts. pic.twitter.com/cXgl84rmyz— ANI (@ANI) December 24, 2018
Holding a joint press conference with KCR, Patnaik on Sunday said: “We had a general discussion on matters of national interest and how to take this forward. We discussed several issues, including a further friendship amongst the like-minded parties,” Patnaik said.
Asked, if the meeting could be seen as both joining hands ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Naveen said: “We have not thought that far, let’s see”. He although hinted that meetings with KCR will continue in this regard.
The TRS boss was on the same page. KCR said there is a ‘dire need’ for regional parties to come together against BJP and Congress and added that talks with his Odisha counterpart have ‘just started.’ “We will meet again soon,” he said.
The TRS chief is scheduled to meet several Opposition leaders, over the next few days. His party has even hired a special chartered plane for a month to ease KCR’s travel across the country.
From Kolkata, KCR’s next stop will be Delhi where will meet Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav. Both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, who used to be sworn enemies of each other, have formed a pre-poll alliance in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The BSP-SP alliance excluded Congress which makes both the leaders crucial for KCR’s mission to bring forth the anti-BJP, Congress Federal Front.
“I can say certainly that there is a dire need for unification of regional parties in the country. We strongly believe that there has to be an alternative to Congress and BJP" the TRS chief had told reporters after meeting Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar.
Early this year, the Telangana CM had met a bunch of Opposition leaders, including DMK chief MK Stalin, former prime minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda to seek their support in stitching a Federal Front minus BJP and Congress to "bring about a qualitative change" in the national politics.
He had alleged that both the Congress and the BJP have failed the country as they could not meet people’s expectations even after 70 years of Independence.
At that time, Mamata Banerjee had expressed her reservations about keeping the Congress out of the alliance. At the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, most of the regional leaders had shown a glimpse of unity by sharing the state with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
However, things changed after DMK president MK Stalin’s recent proposal to project Rahul Gandhi as the Opposition’s prime ministerial face. The proposal irked several Opposition leaders, including Mayawati, Akhilesh and Mamata Banerjee, and they all rejected the idea, saying it was too early to decide that.
(With PTI inputs)