Day after assembly polls outcome, Mamata off to Delhi

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Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) A day after the assembly poll results in four states, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee left for Delhi Monday amidst speculation that the purpose of the visit was to test the political waters in the run up to next year’s general elections.

The Trinamool supremo’s three-day trip is likely to provide her an opportunity to interact with leaders of various political parties who are now in the national capital to attend the winter session of parliament.

Banerjee told reporters at the NSC Bose International Airport that she was going to Delhi “in the interest of Bengal and not for any personal work”.

She is slated to visit the central hall of parliament Tuesday and meet political bigwigs against the backdrop of Sunday’s assembly poll outcomes in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh which have left the Congress bleeding and battered, and the Bharatiya Janata Party all smiles.

Also of interest is whether Banerjee reaches out to Arvind Kejriwal whose Aam Admi Party stunned everyone with a fairy tale debut, finishing second and pushing the Congress to a distant third slot in Delhi.

Banerjee, whose party came out of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre in September last year over fuel and fertiliser prices hikes, has already mooted the idea of a front comprising non-Congress and non-BJP regional outfits.

She hopes that the combine – which she first called Federal Front and later United India Front – would play a crucial role in forming the next government after the elections, where, as of now, neither the Congress, nor the BJP was likely to come close to the magic figure of 272.

The thinking in the Trinamool is that if the party puts up a good show in West Bengal, bagging anything between 25 and 35 Lok Sabha seats, it would be in a position to dictate terms in cobbling together a new government.

This is Banerjee’s first visit to Delhi after April when she faced a demonstration from the student wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist outside the Planning Commission office.

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra, who was accompanying Banerjee, was heckled and pushed by the Students Federation of India activists. Both leaders were hospitalised.

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