West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has made a bid to project herself to a more formidable role among the Opposition coalition. Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Derek O’Brien at Parliament on Wednesday said that Mamata has the best credentials to take on the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”If we speak about the future of the Opposition, then Mamata di has the best credentials; she’s experienced, credible, and has integrity,” O’Brien said adding, “Bengal will play an important role in 2019.”O’Brien said that Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel spoke to Mamata after Gujarat election results. He added that Jignesh Mevani also spoke to her. “We have been with these young leaders since the days of demonetisation. It’s just that we do not publicise these visits,” he said.Speaking to DNA, Patel said the TMC supremo had called him up on Tuesday to congratulate him for his work in the Gujarat assembly elections. In response, Patel said that he expressed the need for UPA to come back to power again in Lok Sabha polls 2019.”I also told her that all the opposition front should work together against BJP. I expressed my wish that may the alliance of opposition parties come to power in center again after Lok Sabha polls to be held in 2019,” Patel said.TMC leaders feel that with Sonia Gandhi stepping back, Mamata has the credibility to emerge as the tallest leader in the Opposition. In fact, in the dinner hosted by Congress leaders for Sonia Gandhi’s farewell on Sunday, three Opposition leaders were invited to share the table with congress president Rahul Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh and former vice-president Hamid Ansari. These leaders include TKS Elangovan on behalf of DMK’s MK Stalin, O’Brien on behalf of TMC, and D Raja on behalf of CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury.”Mamata ji called me up and praised for the agitation against the BJP government in Gujarat and different issues been raised addressing different class of people,” Patel said.In order to mobilise support for the OBC electorate, Hardik had been meeting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. In fact, after he was let out of jail, he flew to Patna to meet Nitish. But with Nitish in the BJP camp, the Patidar leaders has been meeting the Congress leaders, apart from leaders in the Opposition.
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