All regional parties join hands to defeat BJP in 2019: Mamata

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi

"We will support Singhvi in the fifth RS seat from Bengal". Patel said Banerjee had also spoken to Sharad Pawar over the phone and confirmed her presence for a meeting of opposition parties on March 27-28.

Urging all regional parties to join hands to defeat the BJP in the 2019 general elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned the saffron brigade that for them alarm bells have already started ringing.

The Congress nominee for Rajya Sabha election talked to chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the day. On the Left Front fielding a candidate against him, he said, "It is their democratic right".

Mr Singhvi later said, "Whichever part or place you belong to, the arithmatic, history and geography of this state politically shows a huge anti-BJP commonality".

Speaking to the media on the Assembly premises, he said: "I am thankful to Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for supporting my candidature".

West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said they had tried to put up CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury for the 5th seat but the Marxist leader did not agree.

Mr Singhvi said he was proud to be nominated from the land of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Rammohan Roy and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. "This sudden change - to field four party candidates and leave one berth for Congress - has to do with the Congress request", a senior Trinamool leader told TOI.

He added, "I will certainly meet her to express my gratitude to her according to political courtsey but when and where that will be decided later".

Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, Abdul Mannan, said even in the last Rajya Sabha election, the Mamata Banerjee-led party had extended support to the Congress' Pradip Bhattacharya, "but that did not prevent us from opposing the TMC at the state-level".

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