West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged opposition party leaders to form a 'core committee' at the earliest for better coordination.
Informing about the gist of Banerjee's address delivered at the opposition meeting attended by senior politicians, including Sonia Gandhi, the TMC said that Banerjee proposed during the meeting the constitution of a 'core committee' to "rightfully address the issues that the people of India are facing."
Leaders from 19 parties attending the meeting virtually. Banerjee also stressed that all opposition party leaders needed to move fast, walk together and forget their 'ego' to fight the BJP.
While the opposition parties have issued a joint statement following the meeting, the TMC issuing a separate statement highlighting the gist of Banerjee's speeches assumes special significance because the party has been trying to play the leading role in forging an alliance of opposition parties to take on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Banerjee had taken a similar attempt ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, too, and her party's event in Kolkata in January 2019 recorded the presence of the highest number of opposition leaders on a single platform. However, the opposition unity later fell apart, as parties fought each other over their contradictory interests.
This resulted in an overwhelming victory of the Modi government to return to power for a second term with an even bigger mandate.
"This time, Banerjee wants to ensure that the opposition parties do not repeat the mistakes of 2019," said a veteran TMC MP who did not want to be named.
"Mamata Banerjee remarked (during the meeting) that forget who is the leader, let's keep our personal interests aside. People of India will lead," the TMC statement said.
During the meeting on Friday, Banerjee suggested that instead of addressing too many issues, the opposition unity should focus on five principal demands - vaccines for all, repealing of farm laws, withdrawal of hiked prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, Rs 7,500 per month to every family outside income tax bracket and judicial probe on Pegasus.
She suggested that all opposition parties, including those not aligned with the Congress, should be invited to such meetings of opposition parties.