Leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal on March 1 called on the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to ensure full support of his party to the Trinamool Congress in the coming election.
Incidentally, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party leader, Akhilesh Singh Yadav also called up Mamata over phone to extend full support to her in her fight against the saffron party.
Though both Mamata and Tejashwi addressed a joint Press conference they did not speak anything on the number of seats RJD would contest.
Sources said that as RJD has no strong base in West Bengal it may not demand any seat and that the offer to back TMC would be one-sided as the larger goal is to defeat the BJP.
Mamata told the media-persons that Tejashwi’s fight is her fight and her fight is Tejashwi’s fight. She was grateful to him for lending support to the TMC.
Tejashwi, on his part, clarified that his party is supporting Mamata, and not Congress, for the larger cause. To buttress his point, he cited the example of Kerala, where the Congress and Left are contesting against each other while in West Bengal they are together in alliance.
RJD, which is in alliance with the Congress and Left parties in Bihar and is supporting them in Assam (from where Tejashwi had landed in West Bengal), rejected the idea of joining the Congress-Left combination in West Bengal.
West Bengal watchers are of the view that the support of Tejashwi—and even Akhilesh—would be crucial to the TMC as there are sizeable Hindi-speaking voters in this state. The BJP is leaving no stone unturned to woo this section of the electorate. Tejashwi is likely to campaign among them. Curiously, Tejashwi’s move has the blessing of his father, Lalu Prasad Yadav.