Bengal Assembly polls: Tejashwi Yadav calls on Mamata Banerjee, lends support; Akhilesh Yadav too backs her

Bengal election significant in view of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, says Akhilesh.

Tejashwi Yadav, leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), called on Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, and reportedly discussed seat-sharing ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, scheduled in March-April 2021.

In the Bihar assembly elections held last year, Yadav and the Congress along with the Left had formed an alliance. In Bengal though, the Congress has already allied with the Left parties for fighting against the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. Yadav’s meeting with Banerjee today therefore indicated a realignment of that earlier alliance.

“Our alliance with the Left and Congress is only in Bihar. It is our duty to strengthen Mamata didi’s hands here and fight the BJP,” the Bihar Opposition leader said after the meeting at Nabanna, the state administrative headquarters. Tejashwi Yadav said that there are many Hindi-speaking voters in West Bengal and his father Lalu Yadav had decided that his party would back Mamata Banerjee.

“We have great respect for Didi always, we have good relations. We will stand with her and consolidate against communal forces who want to break the nation. BJP wants to come to power in Bengal, but that won’t happen,” he said. He appealed to the people hailing from Bihar to “choose wisely”. Mamata Banerjee said Lalu Yadav had not been released from jail because “they knew if Laluji was out, they would lose the Bihar election in November.”

“They cheated and won in Bihar. Tejashwi is fighting, I am fighting. See how they have set the schedule,” she said, mentioning the eight-phase voting schedule in Bengal.

In Bengal, Tejashwi Yadav is likely to campaign for the Trinamool Congress in seats where there is a large Bihari and/or Hindi-speaking population. There is also a possibility of the RJD contesting one or two seats, insiders said.

Meanwhile, another Congress ally in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, also spoke to Mamata Banerjee on the phone. Speaking to the media in UP, Akhilesh Yadav said that he is extending his support to Mamata Banerjee. He criticised the eight-phase election schedule and added that the Central forces would create trouble and “cheat” by moving political party agents from inside booths. He said that the Bengal Assembly elections are significant across the country in view of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.