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Mamata Banerjee: Regional parties are strong enough to counter BJP
In a direct attack on the ruling party at the Centre, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said that the regional parties are strong enough to counter the BJP.

Banerjee said this during an interaction with the press on Thursday after meeting Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. The two had a 10-minute-long meeting.

"The regional parties are enough to tackle the BJP," Banerjee told reporters.

When asked if BJP was being perceived as a threat to the regional parties, Banerjee shot back saying "I do not believe that they (BJP) are a threat."

"They divide parties. Sometimes they purchase ministers, MLAs and whatever they can. They create division among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, tribals and Scheduled Caste people. They even create division within the Hindu community. We regional parties do not do that. We say Jai Jagannath as there is no caste, creed and religion in the Jagannth culture," said Banerjee.

When asked about the proposed federal front, the TMC chief said, "That is my consistent effort. We love regional parties and we want regional parties to persist and grow."

She also said that in the federal structure, it's the regional parties that actually strengthen the very system under the Constitution.

"We are already in the federal structure. Look, he (Naveen) is Odisha Chief Minister and I belong to West Bengal. Therefore, I say all regional parties are there. Secular parties are always secular and are together," she said.

Asserting that BJD is a natural ally to TMC, Banerjee said that TMC has great respect for the BJD.

The two chief ministers were addressing the press together and iterated that the meeting was not a political one in nature but was rather a meeting out of courtesy.

"I m very glad that honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal came to pay a courtesy call today," said Patnaik.

"I am deeply honoured that Naveen ji gave me time. I knew his father Biju Patnaik very well and he was very fond of me. He had helped me by sending an aircraft for a meeting when I was a Union minister of state for Women and Child Development," Banerjee said.

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