The DMK has requested Mamata Banerjee not to become a party to efforts to divide the Opposition directly or indirectly, emphasising the need for unity to take on “common enemy” BJP.
The DMK, which rules Tamil Nadu in alliance with the Congress, is the second party after the Shiv Sena to openly disapprove of the Trinamul Congress’s effort to chart its own course that threatens to rupture the wider Opposition axis that had been taking shape to counter the BJP.
Asked about Mamata’s remarks that there is no UPA, T.R. Baalu, the leader of the DMK in the Lok Sabha, said during an interview to news agency PTI that a division in the Opposition would only serve the purpose of the BJP.
“Mamataji is a mature and wise politician. She enjoys the respect of fellow Opposition leaders. I would request her not to become a party to divide the Opposition directly or indirectly. Her attempts of going solo are not going to yield the desired results for her. Rather it may be of some help for the BJP, the common enemy of the Opposition,” Baalu said.
Baalu’s remarks came days after the Bengal chief minister, in the presence of NCP leader Sharad Pawar, said there was no UPA. Mamata and Trinamul, fresh from the rousing victory in the Bengal Assembly elections, have been openly critical of the Congress and have been mostly maintaining distance from the party during Opposition protests against the Narendra Modi government.
Baalu was among the leaders invited by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to her residence in New Delhi last week to discuss Opposition strategy in Parliament. The DMK was part of the UPA I and II governments at the Centre from 2004 to 2014.
He said he was hopeful that Opposition unity would strengthen further and the parties could project a single candidate for the presidential polls next year.
Terming the BJP the “common enemy” for the Opposition, Baalu said: “Opposition leaders should meet more often to discuss issues related to national politics with mainly one single agenda — to fight and defeat the BJP.”
Responding to a question on a leader who can unify the Opposition, he said it can be decided at an appropriate time and for the DMK, the call would be taken by its president M.K. Stalin.
“Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and our very own M.K. Stalin can bring various Opposition parties to the table to discuss issues related to national politics,” Baalu said.
He also suggested that the Opposition parties have a common stand in Parliament to stand up to the BJP-led NDA government.
Talking about the future course of action to bring the Opposition parties together, Baalu said it was a process that required efforts and time from everybody, but he was hopeful that the Opposition would emerge as more unified before the presidential polls.
“I am hopeful that by the presidential election next year, the unity in the Opposition camp will further strengthen and we may be able to project a single candidate supported by all the Opposition parties,” he said.
Baalu alleged that the BJP was not functioning in Parliament in accordance with rules and procedures.