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BJP, Cong, Left celebrating Valentine's Day in Bengal: Mamata

February 19, 2014 19:50 IST

'Democracy will decide the PM candidate'

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The next government at the Centre will be a “federal front” one, believes West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

In an interview with CNN-IBN, the Trinamool Congress chief explains why she decided to team up with activist Anna Hazare and alleges that the Left Front, the BJP and the Congress have an ‘understanding’ in Bengal.

Excerpts:

On sharing the stage with activist Anna Hazare:

We will contest 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, but we will fight in other states too, wherever there is a possibility. Now, Annaji has given his blessings.

On whether she will be a prime ministerial candidate after the Lok Sabha polls:

If we win the maximum number of seats, we will decide. We want to be part of the central government.

I will like to take part at the Centre but that will be decided by Annaji and my party.

I know my limitations. I am not a greedy person. If maximum seats come to us, then let’s see. I am not greedy for anything.

Democracy will decide the PM candidate, not me or you".

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Image: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with actor Shah Rukh Khan at an event
Photographs: Reuters

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'I am neither with the BJP nor with the Congress'

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On whether the Third Front will succeed:

The Third Front has totally failed. The next government will be a federal front government, not one led by the National Democratic Alliance or the United Progressive Alliance.

There must be a change in the political system. We need electoral reforms in the country. I don't believe in sharing power. I want to help everyone. We are already a national party and we have a presence in many states.

On whether activist Anna Hazare will act as a mascot for the TMC:

Annaji is like a father figure. I was never critical of Anna Hazare.

I met him for the first time now; I had not got the opportunity to meet him earlier.

Hazare is supporting me because of my struggle.

On why she is not teaming up with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress:

Today, I cannot talk about tomorrow. I can't predict what happens tomorrow. At present, I am neither with the BJP nor with the Congress.

In 1998, our party was a new one. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister. We gave support to the BJP-led NDA because of that. We had earlier supported these parties, but we had withdrawn our support.

You cannot judge the future. The next government will be a federal front government.

The Congress will be routed in the next elections. The party will get only 60 seats and the BJP will not be able to cross a tally of 150 seats.

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Image: Supporters hold a cut-out of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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'Their Valentine's Day is going on'

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On BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi:

I don’t know him.

On who is her enemy no 1:

The Left Front, the BJP and the Congress have an understanding in West Bengal. Their Valentine’s Day is going on (in the state).

The next government (at the Centre) will be a stable government.

On whether the TMC plans to contest Lok Sabha polls across India:

Anna Hazare will decide TMC candidates in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala etc.

On the Aam Aadmi Party:

I do not want to say anything about the AAP. It is a new party. I do not know about the AAP so I do not want to comment about them. I am not trying to occupy their space.

On being a temperamental person:

I have not changed, I am still temperamental.

I have not changed. My state has changed. My state is growing; we are working very hard for the state.

West Bengal is growing. The Centre has taken away Rs 70,000 crore from our treasury.

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Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

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