After Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena backs Mamata Banerjee in the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal

Published : March 04, 2021 19:56 IST

Tejashwi Yadav (right) greets West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the State Secretariat, in Kolkata on March 1, 2021. Photo: PTI

After the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party (S.P.) announced that they will be backing the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming Assembly elections, the Shiv Sena has also pledged its support to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Assembly elections. Hailing Mamata Banerjee as the “real Bengal tigress”, Sanjay Raut, senior Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha member, announced that it will not be contesting the elections in West Bengal as it had earlier planned and, instead, will support the Trinamool Congress in its fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2016, the Shiv Sena had contested in 21 seats in Bengal and secured 1.25 per cent of the votes in those seats.

On March 4, Raut posted on social media: “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. Looking at the present scenario, it appears like a ‘Didi vs All’ fight. 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 and stand in solidarity with her. We wish Mamata Didi a ‘roaring’ success, ’cos we believe she is the real Bengal Tigress.”

Welcoming the overture, Sougata Roy, Trinamool Lok Sabha MP, said: “The symbol of Shiv Sena is a tiger. Now the tigers of Maharashtra feel that Mamata Banerjee is the tigress of Bengal. We welcome that.”

Earlier, the RJD and the S.P. had also announced their support to the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming elections. On March 1, Tejashwi Yadav, RJD leader, had met Mamata Banerjee at the State Secretariat Nabanna. Stating that his father and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav had decided to support Mamata Banerjee, Tejashwi Yadav said that the first priority was to stop “communal forces”. “Bengal has many Hindi-speaking people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. I appeal to them to back Mamata Didi to ensure her win. We support her in her fight for Bengal’s language, culture and literature,” he said.

Interestingly, the RJD’s alliance partners in Bihar are the Congress and the Left and they have joined forces in West Bengal to fight both Mamata Banerjee and the BJP. Clarifying RJD’s stand in West Bengal, Tejashwi Yadav said: “Our alliance [with Left and Congress] is for Bihar. Even in Kerala we have LDF and UDF.” S.P. chief Akhilesh Yadav, putting his party’s weight behind the Trinamool, said that Kiranmoy Nanda, the party’s vice president, will be conducting the campaign in support of the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. Nanda was a Cabinet Minister in the Left Front government from 1991 to 2011. In the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal, the RJD had contested in one seat and had secured 15,639 votes, while the S.P. had contested in 23 seats and secured 1.13 per cent of the votes in those seats.

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