Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has rejected the option of any pre-poll tie-up with the Third Block, but has kept hopes alive in a post-poll scenario depending on the numbers, she hold in the next Lok Sabha. In the post-poll scenario as well, she has conveyed leaders engaged in cobbling up a third alternative that her support will be linked to their severing ties with the Left Front.
A source close to the developments told dna on condition of anonymity that Banerjee has been in touch with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik for a post-poll alliance. Addressing a rally in Kolkata last week, Banerjee had raised the pitch for a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative last week.
A TMC leader told dna, "Mamata Banerjee has done a lot of development work in Weset Bengal and we are confident people of Bengal will reward us in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. We are fighting the elections on our own. However, we are in touch with all the non-Congress, non-BJP parties sans the Left for the formation of the federal front after the polls. We think the Left has lost significance."
Sources also confirm that YSR Congress Party President Jagan Mohan Reddy also held talks with Mamata Banerjee is also in talks with other leaders of the federal block and a post-poll alliance is likely.
Interestingly, while Nitish Kumar and Left parties held a meeting with Deve Gowda in New Delhi, Telegu Desham Party president Chandra Babu Naidu also met Banerjee in Kolkata today to discuss the formation of the federal front ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
In New Delhi on Monday, top leaders who met Gowda over breakfast decided to convene a meeting of the leaders of the parties in the block by the end of February.
After the one-and-a-half hour long breakfast meeting it was decided that the leaders of all the parties in the federal block will meet once the Parliament session is over and work out a common minimum programme along with the schedule for the rallies, and public meetings. A source said that the details will come out by the end of this month.
The meeting was attended by CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI veteran A B Bardhan, among others.
Nitish Kumar, who is in New Delhi for Krishi Karman awards, got in touch with Gowda for a meeting last weekend. Initially the meeting was supposed to take place between the two leaders. It was later that the Left parties were also invited.
Meanwhile, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu on Monday asked Mamta Bannerjee for support against the elangana Bill in parliament and also to further the cause of a united front of regional parties against the Congress. Naidu flew to Kolkatta and called on Mamata. Naidu told reporters later that he had come to Kolkata to discuss the formation of a federal front ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.