New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee believes neither the NDA nor the UPA coalitions will come to power next month and that India may see a “new combination” government at the Centre.
In an interview to News18 Network editor-in-chief Rahul Joshi, the Trinamool Congress supremo also said that West Bengal (42 seats) and Uttar Pradesh (80 seats) would emerge as the critical states, predicting a nought for the BJP in Punjab, Delhi and the southern states.
“This time, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh will be critical. These two states will make the government. Even in other states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, the BJP will not be able to win a single seat. They won’t win any seats in Punjab and Delhi either. Even in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP’s tally will be reduced to 60 and 40. So where will they get the seats from,” she said.
Banerjee didn’t give the Congress much chance either. “The Congress will not be able to form a government alone. How will they do it? All state parties are very strong now. Neither UPA, nor NDA will form the government. Maybe a new combination will take shape; wait for that,” Banerjee said.
Refusing to speculate on a PM face, Banerjee batted for “collective leadership”.
“Whether it’s AP, Telangana, Odisha, Bihar or Assam, we will all sit down and choose our leader together based on the common minimum programme.”
The Trinamool Congress had won 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the 2014 elections. This time the party faces stiff challenge from the BJP which has promised to implement the controversial National Register of Citizens to "throw out infiltrators”, a contentious issue in several constituencies in Bengal.
Banerjee is banking on Trinamool Congress being the third largest party in Parliament this time after the two national parties. With SP, BSP and DMK all having local alliance partners, Banerjee fancies her chances as being the leader of the third largest party. She is often heard in rallies saying 'ektao debo na' (won't give a single one), in apparent resolve that she won't let anyone else win a single seat from the state.