New Delhi: The Left parties on Saturday hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for calling a meeting of opposition leaders ahead of the presidential poll and said it was “unilateral”, “improper” and done without any consultation.
Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress supremo, has written to opposition leaders, requesting them to attend a meeting on June 15 convened by her in New Delhi to prepare a joint strategy for the July 18 poll to elect a successor to President Ram Nath Kovind.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that June 15 has already been decided as the day of meeting by senior leaders of opposition parties, including Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin.
“I have learnt from social media that a letter has been sent to me also. Normally such meetings are conducted after considerable mutual consultations. These consultations were going on and a time and a date had been fixed.
“Mamata Banerjee shot off a letter unilaterally. This is highly unusual. The focus is to unite maximum opposition parties. Any unilateral action will ensure only the opposite, harm opposition unity,” Yechury said.
According to sources, opposition leaders are not happy with Banerjee’s move and feel this is yet another attempt by the TMC chief to outdo other senior leaders and present herself as the leader of an anti-BJP front.
While the West Bengal chief minister was not a part of the discussion on the date of the meeting, her letter requesting a meeting the same day has raised eyebrows as to how she knew the details, sources said.
CPI general secretary D Raja said he has received the letter on email but did not know who Banerjee consulted with before calling for the meeting.
“Calling a meeting without prior consultation is improper. The situation demands the unity of all secular democratic parties. I don’t know how other parties will react to Banerjee convening such a meeting. As far as CPI is concerned, we will have to consult with other parties and also discuss internally for a final decision,” he said.
Some other leaders wondered why Stalin, TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao or Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy would attend an opposition meeting presided over by Banerjee.
Another leader of an anti-BJP party also said that these moves by Banerjee are only helping the BJP by exposing the cracks in the rank of the Opposition.
“Indian realities warrant a common candidate from the opposition for the presidential election. Search for such a candidate needs time and necessary informal consultations.
“Any degree of haste may be unproductive. Leaders of opposition parties are mature enough to understand this,” tweeted senior CPI leader Binoy Viswam.
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