Kejriwal’s unity bid gets cold shoulder as Mamata, Nitish give meet a miss

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee whose party wants to keep a distance from both BJP and Congress as well as Bihar’s Supremo Nitish Kumar whose party is allied to Congress, seemed to have missed out on a meeting called by their Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to try form a Third Front ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The invitation of the Aam Aadmi Party chief for the conclave was sent to some eight chief ministers on 5 February, a source in the Bengal government said.
“She was invited by Kejriwal for a meeting in Delhi on 18 March. A similar invitation was sent to seven other CMs for the meeting. However, the meeting obviously did not take place,” a source said.
The TMC supremo, the source said, is likely to visit the national capital later this month, though as yet no meeting scheduled with Kejriwal. Last week her party announced that it would go it alone sans the Congress and the BJP after she met Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav in Kolkata.
Incidentally, Yadav after meeting Banerjee had echoed the same thinking after the meeting last Friday.
“In Bengal, we are with Mamata didi (elder sister). Right now, our stand is to maintain equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress. Does Congress have any stake in Uttar Pradesh? We will continue our fight against the BJP,” Yadav had said after the meeting.
Party senior leader and MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay while dismissing talk of a third front, had held out the possibility of “regional players, including former NDA allies,” coming together in a compact ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Similarly, though Nitish had met Arvind Kejriwal during his Delhi trip immediately after joining Mahagathbandhan (Grand alliance), as part of his campaign for opposition unity, he has since been shy of being seen on the same page with AAP. A case in point is the JD(U) not signing a recent letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting the CBI action against AAP leader Manish Sisodia.

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