A week after the dinner hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi featuring all "secular" outfits - including the Trinamool Congress - Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday put a stamp on her Telengana counterpart K Chandrashekhar Rao's Third Front initiative devoid of a tri-colour and saffron tinge.
On Monday, KCR met with West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata at the Secretariat, initiating the formal talks to orchestrate the alliance.
Mamata Banerjee, expressing hope that the People's Federal Front would succeed, said the meeting was a "good beginning" where discussions centred around development of the country. Let me clarify that this front will be for people of India.
Mr Salim also said in any formation of the third front there should be a unity of all political parties to support burning issues like preventing farmers' suicide, demanding arrest of the bank scam cases' culprits, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. Sources in the Telangana Chief Minister's Office had said last night that Rao would meet and hold discussions with Mamata Banerjee on March 19 in the backdrop of him calling for a qualitative change in politics.
"It will be a collective leadership, it will be a federal leadership". "Whatever we have discussed is aimed towards [the] development of the country".
Sometimes in politics, situations emerge that cause people to work together. "I believe in politics", she added. Do you want the same routine model to continue? It will be completely different from the present routine model. "The new coalition will be on people's agenda", Rao added.
He said this was the beginning of the federal front which would be a people's front.
The Telangana CM was received by the West Bengal government representatives.
Chandrasekhar Rao went to Kolkata along with his daughter and Nizamabad MP, Kavitha Kalvakuntla, the TRS parliamentary party leader K Keshshava Rao and others. "So this kind of third front means that a gang of political opportunist parties are uniting themselves for vested poltical gain", he said.
Speaking to TNM, Congress spokesperson Dr Dasoju Sravan Kumar said, "It is just to divert the anti-incumbency wave in Telangana... he is playing to Modi's tunes". Calling today's meeting a beginning, KCR said that an "idea is born" and the two leaders plan to build "real, federal front".
Rao is openly averse to the Congress - the two are in a direct contest in Telangana - but Mamata has been known to do business with the 132-year-old party.
BJP ally Shiv Sena has said that they have not decided about it yet. Before returning to Hyderabad, the Chief Minister is likely to perform puja at the famous Kali Mandir in Kolkata.