New Delhi: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress leaders are hoping that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will lead the “federal front” against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. and will assume the Prime Ministership, if the front is able to cobble together a majority.
They are hoping that the TMC will get more than 35 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, making it the third largest party after the BJP and the Congress nationally. Sources in the TMC said that the 63-year-old Mamata Banerjee is the “most appropriate candidate” for the post of Prime Minister from the federal front, as she has been a Member of Parliament for seven times and has also been Railway Minister. A TMC source told this newspaper: “We are confident that the federal front will accept Didi (Mamata Banerjee) as the Prime Ministerial candidate given the experience she has and since we are also likely to be the third largest party. Without the TMC, government formation at the Centre after the 2019 elections will not be possible. We are confident of winning at least 40 seats if Mamata Banerjee is declared the PM candidate before the 2019 elections.” Mamata Banerjee has been trying to garner support from all the regional parties for the 2019 general elections to create a united Opposition front to take on the NDA government at the Centre. She has also met regional leaders such as K. Chandrashekar Rao of Telangana, Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh, Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders of Bihar, and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on several occasions to build a consensus. She was also one of the attendees to the “grand alliance” meet held in the national capital earlier this week. Political experts and observers say that Mamata Banerjee may have an upper hand if there is a fractured mandate in the 2019 general elections because she could win a good number of seats and also because she has experience of being in Parliament.
Besides, being a woman could also be a plus point for her.
Some political experts have also hinted that the TMC could be flexing its muscle in Delhi after the 2019 general election results, if the party emerges as the kingmaker.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had also earlier indicated that he did not have any problem with a woman being Prime Minister.
However, Mamata Banerjee on earlier occasions said that she was “not competing” for the post of Prime Minister and that her main aim was to unite the Opposition parties against the BJP-led government at the Centre.