Grand alliance is on, though process stumbles at times: Trinamool
Admitting that the rhythm of forming the "grand alliance" of opposition parties against the BJP is lost at times in some places, Trinamool Congress senior leader and West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee on Saturday said the process of creating the front is on.
By organising the January 19 mega rally at historic Brigade Parade Ground here and bringing leaders of opposition parties on one stage, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has "demonstrated" that it can be done, he said.
"The efforts, which were started by Mamata Banerjee, are on for forming the alliance of opposition political parties against the BJP even though the rhythm of bringing anti-BJP powers on one stage is lost at times in some places," said the party's Secretary General at 'Meet the Press' organised by the Press Club, Kolkata.
"It (formation of a grand alliance) is a continuous process and one may stumble in order to keep the continuity of the process. We are continuing with our efforts," he said.
Twenty-three political parties, including the Congress and major regional parties like SP, BSP and DMK, had come together at the 'United India' rally in Kolkata, organised by Banerjee to throw the gauntlet at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for defeating him in the general election.
Chatterjee said the party supremo had called for the alliance of opposition parties based on a common minimum programme and mooted the idea of the "collective leadership".
Taking a dig at Modi's jibe about the proposed opposition front, Chatterjee said that PM has attended maximum number of rallies in Bengal, besides touring 90 countries in past four-and-a-half years.
"This indicates the importance of Mamata's call for the anti-BJP government," he said.
Responding to a query about poll officials' demand for deploying Central forces at polling stations for their security in the state and their threatening not to take part in the electoral process without Central troopers, Chatterjee said, "These agitations are politically motivated."
Chatterjee also attacked both Congress and CPI(M), for rise of the saffron party in the state.
"With the loss of acceptability and existence of CPI(M) and Congress, the BJP has gained in strength in the state," Chatterjee said.
He also alleged some heavyweight CPI(M) leaders are keen to join the BJP which became clear with leaders like Khagen Murmu and Mafuza Khatun joining the saffron party.
Meanwhile, criticising the Election Commission, Trinamool's senior leader said the BJP led by 'Bada Chowkidar' and 'Chota Chowkidar' are "frustrated about their existence in the state".
"Like other agencies, the ECI is also being controlled by the BJP," he stated.
Explaining that the party is not against the deployment of Central forces, Chatterjee said, "We have started questioning since this deployment is only restricted to non-BJP ruled states and not in those where BJP is running the state government such as in Gujarat."