There is no UPA, says Mamata

MUMBAI, Dec 1: West Bengal Chief Minister, who is on a visit to Maharashtra, said today that there is no “UPA”, referring to the Congress led alliance which was in power in the Centre from 2004 to 2014. “What is UPA? There is no UPA,” Banerjee said in response to a question on whether Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar should head the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the alliance led by the Congress. Pawar was standing next to her when she made the statement. “What did Sharad ji say? We need an alternative..”Banerjee said, “If someone does not want to fight what can we do”.
Pawar, however, took a more cautioned approach and said, “The intention is that in today’s situation, at the national level like minded forces should come together, and set up a collective leadership platform and we have a strong alternative to the BJP”.
“The overall thinking is not for today but for 2024. This platform must be established and with that intention she has visited and she had a very positive discussion,” Pawar said. “This is not about leaving out Congress or anyone else. Those who are against BJP if they come together it is better,” he said.
Earlier in the day, addressing a gathering of editors of prominent newspapers, actors, writers, directors and activists here, Banerjee urged them to unite and bowl BJP out of power, and emphasised the ideals of democracy and secularism with the example of West Bengal.
She also mentioned how her Government has been running various welfare schemes in education, health, art and culture, and even bolstering businesses to generate jobs.
She said civil society has a very big role to play. “Unfortunately, we are facing the cruel, undemocratic, unethical attitude and being tortured by one right-wing political party, BJP. If you want to fight them, let us be united, wherever you are,” Banerjee said. She said the battle is not about who will be the next Prime Minister.
“The battle is to save democracy; wash out BJP politically and then we will decide the next PM,” Banerjee said. She also attacked Congress for their failure to effectively challenge the BJP. In such a situation, she said, regional parties need to unite against the saffron party. Meeting with any Congress leader was not her agenda during her visit to Mumbai.
She also met Aditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena on Tuesday, before meeting Pawar. (UNI)