Mamata Banerjee thinks big, preps to become face of Opposition in 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Express News Service
KOLKATA:  Her image of a “street fighter” firmly established following TMC’s thumping win over the BJP in the West Bengal Assembly elections, Mamata Banerjee will now try to galvanise other parties to fight against the saffron brigade in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Set to be sworn in as the chief minister of the state for the third time on Wednesday, she said her party will celebrate the landslide victory at Kolkata’s famed Brigade Parade Ground, but only after the Covid-19 situation gets better. Leaders from other states will be invited to her victory parade.

“I am a street fighter. I can boost people so that we can fight against BJP. One cannot do everything alone. I think all together, we can fight the battle for 2024. But let’s fight Covid first,” said Mamata on Monday.

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Mamata’s statement is seen as an indication that she is going to play a key role in mobilising other forces and bring them together on a common platform to challenge the mighty BJP.

With an impressive performance in the Assembly elections where her party bagged 213 seats, the West Bengal chief minister is going to play a role in national politics, said a TMC leader.

Mamata said many political leaders and chief ministers called and congratulated her. “But this is the first time I have not received any call from the Prime Minister. He may be busy with other affairs,” said Mamata who suffered a narrow loss in Nandigram under controversial circumstances.

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Mamata’s announcement of inviting the leaders from other states is said to be aimed at forming an alternative force against BJP.

During the elections, she wrote to several chief ministers and leaders, who are not part of the NDA, asking them to unite against the Centre’s decisions which are “against the interest of the common people”.

On the day of the Bengal election results, Mamata tried to build pressure on the Central government on the vaccine issue.

She threatened a sit-in demonstration if the Centre doesn’t give free vaccines to all the citizens of India. She is also among the opposition leaders who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday demanding free vaccination.

“About Rs 30,000 crore is required to give free vaccines to all and allotting that amount is not an issue for the Central government. BJP has spent huge money in Bengal elections. Had they used a part of it, people would have got free vaccines,” Mamata said. The Congress-Left wipeout