Kolkata: After Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party (SP), the Shiv Sena extended Thursday its support to the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. The Shiv Sena said it would not contest Assembly elections in West Bengal, but would support the Trinamool Congress (TMC) as it takes on the BJP. The Shiv Sena hailed Banerjee as the ‘real Bengal tigress’. It vowed to ‘stand in solidarity’ with the TMC camp.
Senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, in a tweet, made the announcement. He said that the decision was taken following discussions with party president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Raut took to Twitter and said ‘at the moment, it appears to be a Didi vs All fight’.
“A lot of people are curious to know whether Shiv Sena is contesting West Bengal polls or not? So here’s the update after discussions with party president Uddhav ji Thackeray,” Raut said.
“All ‘M’s – Money, Muscle and Media – are being used against ‘M’amata Didi. Hence, Shiv Sena has decided not to contest West Bengal polls & stand in solidarity with her. We wish Mamata Didi a ‘roaring’ success, ‘cos we believe she is the real Bengal Tigress,” he added.
Shiv Sena’s West Bengal unit president Ashok Sarkar also said that the party has decided to support TMC in the polls.
TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien retweeted the tweet by Raut. “We welcome Shiv Sena’s decision. We are thankful to Shiv Sena for not putting up candidates in the Assembly polls in West Bengal,” TMC MP Sougata Roy said.
The BJP, however, declined to attach much importance to the development. “What is the stake of Shiv Sena, RJD or SP in Bengal? They don’t have any presence in Bengal. It hardly matters whom they support or not. It is laughable,” BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu said.
Earlier this week RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met Banerjee at Nabanna and extended his support to the TMC. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav too has extended his party support to TMC.
A significant takeaway of the Shiv Sena, SP and RJD pledging support to Mamata is that they are shunning Congress. Instead they are siding with the TMC in the battle for Bengal.
Congress, which has entered into alliance with the Left Front and Indian Secular Front of Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui for the Bengal polls, promises to defeat the TMC as well as the saffron party in battle royale in the eastern state.