Asserting that the "fascist" Narendra Modi government is on its way out, TMC MP Derek O'Brien says a front of regional political parties will come to power at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections and his party will play the "most important" role in government formation.
He, however, did not confirm or deny if Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be a contender for the prime minister's post if the anti-BJP front comes to power. "After four phases of election, I can confidently say that this fascist Narendra Modi government is on its way out.
There will be a new government at the Centre which will be driven by regional parties," Brien told PTI. Asked who would lead the front, he said, "All the leaders and MPs (of constituent parties) would sit together and decide who would be their leader.
We would take just an hour to elect the leader of the front." Speaking about his party's role in government formation, he said, "The TMC would play the most important role in the next government." "In a garden there are different features, there is also a squirrel in a garden. A squirrel doesn't grab the limelight but plays a very important role," he added.
The TMC leader evaded a direct response when asked if Banerjee would be in the running for the top office. "Mamata Banerjee's credentials speak for themselves," he said, adding that she has been member of Parliament and Union minister multiple times and chief minister twice. "We are looking to win close to 42 seats.
So no one from the TMC needs to go around with her biodata," he added. Brien said there would be a "United India Common Minimum Agenda", decided by all alliance partners, to guide the government policies. Asked whether the Congress would be part of the anti-BJP front, he answered in the affirmative.
"Of course, the Congress would be part of it," he said. The TMC leader dismissed apprehensions that the failure of regional parties to stitch a national level pre-poll alliance could prove to be a handicap in getting a call from the president to form the government. "If you look at the political history and see how the earlier governments were formed, the UPA-1, UPA-2, and if you go back to the 90s, there have been post-poll alliances which have formed the government," Brien said.
"As long as there is proper coordination between all the opposition parties and a common minimum agenda, it won't be a problem. The opposition leaders are leaders in their own right and have their egos in their pocket, (which) means no ego. Whereas if you look at Narendra Modi, he has ego written on his forehead," he said.
Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "mahamilawat" (adulteration) jibe at the Opposition's 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance), the TMC MP said, "Meglomaniacs, who do not respect the coalition dharma, will keep making such comments."
"We are in the era of coalition politics and everybody should respect the dharma of coalition politics," he said. It is driven by federalism unlike the "feku federalism" practised by the BJP government, he added. Brien asserted that coalition governments "work better" in the country.
The TMC leader ruled out the possibility of supporting the NDA in case it falls short of majority, saying it is a fight "against ideologies". Asked about his party's ties with the NDA in the past, Brien said no one should compare a leader like Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Modi and Amit Shah.
After its formation in 1998, the TMC was part of the NDA till 2006. Brien also criticised Modi over his recent revelation in an interview that Banerjee sends him kurtas, which she personally chooses for him, and sweets every year. The TMC leader said speaking about courtesies in the public domain is a "cheap shot".