Two “good friends” the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party will not join hands with the Congress in the run-up to the 2024 general elections, the leaders of the two parties — Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav — said on Friday.
Akhilesh, who is in Kolkata to attend his party’s two-day-long national executive meet, met the Bengal Chief Minister at her Kalighat residence. He later said there was no question of going with the Congress, adding that the SP’s friendship with the TMC would continue.
“Mamata didi will continue to fight the BJP as she had been doing in the past,” he said.
There was “no question of joining hands with the Congress,” he said, adding that the SP would “maintain equidistance both from the Congress and the BJP.” In Bengal his party would be with the Trinamool Congress.
On whether there would be a Third Front coming up, he did not rule out completely of “some kind of alliance mechanism” coming up before the elections.
On what transpired between the two leaders, Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said, “It is natural for them to talk politics when two senior politicians meet… They dwelt on a whole lot of issues… including their joint fight against the BJP.”
Earlier, upon his arrival in Kolkata, Yadav told reporters that the BJP was misusing the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation to victimise Opposition leaders.
Like Akhilesh, the TMC too would not join hands with the Congress, its parliamentary party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said after coming out of a party meeting at the Bengal Chief Minister’s residence.
Another TMC leader said, “The Congress cannot take us for granted.” On the one hand, Congress leaders say that TMC has links with the BJP and Adani and, on the other, they want the TMC to join hands with them, he added.