West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
PTI file photo

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday took the lead with a call to ten key opposition leaders, barring the two left parties, for a get-together to forge a strategy to take on the BJP and PM Modi after the current round of Assembly elections.

The strongly worded seven-point letter said the time has come for a "united and effective struggle against BJP's attacks on democracy and the Constitution" and "presenting a credible alternative to the people of India."

Starting with the controversial new law that gives more powers to Delhi's Lieutenant Governor -- the Centre's representative -- compared to the city's elected government, Banerjee presented seven instances of what she called the BJP's "assaults" on democracy and cooperative Federalism.

"The BJP wants to make it impossible for non-BJP parties to exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms. It wants to dilute the powers of the state governments and downgrade them to mere municipalities. In short, it wants to establish a one-party authoritarian rule in India," she wrote.

"What the BJP has done to Delhi is not an exception. It is increasingly becoming the rule," she wrote, enumerating how the Centre is "creating problems for elected governments.

The list included "misuse" of the office of the governor, central agencies like the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, "withholding" states' funds, "disbanding" bodies like the National Development Council and Planning Commission, using money power to topple non-BJP governments, privatisation of "nation's assets" and "deterioration" in the relations between the states and the Centre.

"I strongly believe that the time has come for a united and effective struggle against BJP's attacks on democracy and the Constitution... As the chairperson of TMC, I shall work wholeheartedly with you and all other like-minded parties in this battle," Banerjee wrote.

Besides Sonia Gandhi, the letter was sent to Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, DMK's Stalin, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao, Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejaswi Yadav, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal and CPIML's Dipankar Bhattacharya.

It is not clear if Mamata has also invited Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati to join the fight against the BJP or excluded her to keep Akhilesh on her side.

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