KOLKATA: Amidst political churning ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday met here and pitched for a non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front, saying there is a need for a national alternative.
Rao, whose idea of a third front last week was immediately welcomed by Banerjee, flew to Kolkata and drove to the Secretariat for a meeting with the Trinamool Congress chief. He was accompanied by his daughter and MP Kavita and TRS MP K. Keshava Rao.
"We made a good beginning today and we will be able to carry forward from this," Rao, also the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief, told the media with Banerjee by his side.
He said it won't be a third front and their idea of a new front would be a collective leadership.
"There is definitely going to be a federal front by the people of India. It is not a mere aligning of political parties. It is about unifying the masses, the people of India. There is a need for a political change.
"The Congress and BJP have not worked well for the country. There is a need for an alternative and an alternative agenda. We agreed on to bring a real federal front in the country with a group of like-minded leaders. The other leaders will sit together.
"You know what has happened in this country for the last 71 years. Do you want the same routine model to continue? Will it do any wonders if BJP goes out and Congress comes in? This country needs something wonderful," he said.
"The agenda we propose would be totally different from the present routine model. It would be people's agenda."
Terming his meeting with Banerjee as the first step towards the inception of the front, KCR, as the leader is popularly known, said the front's formation can be discussed in detail once other like-minded political leaders come to a consensus.
"Today we had a pleasant discussion where we agreed on so many fronts and we are trying to build a real federal front for this country. This will be a like minded group of political leaders. Today was just the beginning. Rest of the things will be made clear when other leaders sit together, discuss and come to a consensus.
"Just we two cannot decide all the things. There are other leaders, friends and like-minded people. We have to talk to all of them. We made a good beginning today and I am confident that we would be able to take it forward. I think this country would flourish," he said.
Echoing Rao, Banerjee termed the meeting as a "good beginning" and hoped the like minded leaders, focused on the development of the county, would eventually come together to form a "strong" federal front.
"This was a good beginning. Politics is a continuous process. The dialogue has been started. Let the leaders talk to each other. All of them would eventually come together to form the front. We want the federal front to be strong. If the states are strong, the Centre would also be strong," Banerjee said.
"We are not in a hurry. Let's approach other political parties also. Politics for bigger objectives takes time. Everything has been discussed in detail. Now we wait for tomorrow, for the future."
Answering a question on who would be the other stakeholders of the front, Banerjee said: "In politics, the situation sometimes allows everyone to come and work together. I have faith in democracy. It is best to work along with everyone in democracy. We have good relation with all political parties. We will maintain that."
Replying to a question about the BJP's claim that it can face the challenge of all parties, she said such attitude by a party does not look nice in a democratic setup.
"Don't think one party can rule the country. No party should be so proud of their own identity. Everybody has their own regional and national strength. They should respect each other."