Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit Delhi between November 22 and 25, with the winter session of the Parliament scheduled to begin on November 29.
The Trinamool chief’s visit will include meetings with opposition leaders to talk strategy to take on the BJP in what is likely to be another explosive session – in which farm laws’ repeal will take centrestage.
The three farm laws – passed last year amid ruckus in the Parliament – triggered furious protests from farmers across the country, leading to more than 15 months of protests till Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said the laws would be repealed this month.
Ms Banerjee tweeted “heartfelt congratulations to every single farmer”, offered condolences to the families of farmers who had died, and slammed the BJP for the “cruelty” meted out to the protesters.
Mamata Banerjee may also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, news agency PTI said this week. The two are expected to discuss issues like the centre’s contentious increase of BSF jurisdiction.
Last month Ms Banerjee wrote to PM Modi on this topic and slammed it as an attempt to interfere with the federal structure of the country. The centre had increased BSF jurisdiction to 50 km from the international border in Bengal, Punjab and Assam, drawing fierce criticism from the first two states.
Assam is ruled by the BJP. Punjab, where the Congress is in power, will hold an election next year.
Ms Banerjee was last in Delhi in July – it was her first visit to the national capital since leading the Trinamool to a stunning victory over the BJP in the April-May Bengal election.
Then too opposition unity was on the agenda; the Bengal Chief Minister had earlier made a pitch for that in a speech attended by top leaders, including the Congress’ P Chidambaram and NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and the Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav.
Ms Banerjee also met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Rahul Gandhi was also present in talks seen as significant as the two parties sought common ground ahead of the 2024 polls.
“We discussed the unity of the opposition. It was a very good meeting, positive meeting. To defeat the BJP, everybody needs to come together. Everyone will have to work together,” Ms Banerjee had said.
Her Bengal victory prompted talk of her becoming the face of a unified national opposition to PM Modi and the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Since then, the Trinamool has been testing waters outside Bengal, with Abhishek Banerjee in Tripura (which votes in 2023) and the Chief Minister campaigning in Goa (which votes in 2022).
Ms Banerjee has since also been talked up as a possible Prime Minister candidate.
But speaking to NDTV in May she was cautious on this, saying: Sometimes you cannot decide all the things right now. It is different during election time. There has to be a common minimum programme.”
In August, Mrs Gandhi hosted another meet of opposition leaders. Ms Banerjee was at that meeting (held virtually), as were her counterparts from Tamil Nadu (MK Stalin), Maharashtra (Uddhav Thackeray) and Jharkhand (Hemant Soren), and the RJD, the NCP and the Left.
“Forget who is the leader, let’s keep our personal interests aside,” Ms Banerjee had said amid intense speculation about who will lead the opposition in the fight against the BJP.
With input from PTI