Mamata Banerjee says Narendra Modi ‘communal’, won’t support him for PM

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In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday categorically stated that she would not support Narendra Modi even if post-poll scenario demands so.

The Trinamool Congress chief said she was prepared to work with AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa or BSP supremo Mayawati, but not with Narendra Modi.

“I have no problem. I don’t bother (about) the chair, I care for the people,” said Banerjee. Mamata was asked whether she would support Jayalalithaa if the latter wanted to become PM post Lok Sabha polls.

Asked whether she, Jayalalithaa and Mayawati, could work together given their strong personalities and temperaments, the West Bengal CM said, “You will appreciate that under Vajpayee’s leadership we worked together. So who says we cannot work together? We may work together. Strong personalities can work strongly for the country.”

When reminded that everybody wanted to be the prime minister, she said “If they want to be the prime minister I will give them support, no problem.”

When told that people think that there would be squabble among the three strong leaders, Banerjee said, “There will be nothing. From my side I can assure there will be no scuffle.”

Asked whether she would be happy remaining chief minister of West Bengal and supporting a government from outside, she said, “I am working here. For 34 years there were so many problems. No development took place. I am happy with my position. I can tell you that I can give support to all if they are willing to form the government for the betterment of the country. I have no problem.”

Asked that in any combination where TMC would be a part, that would require support from either the BJP or Congress to form the government, whose support she would prefer, the fiery TMC leader said, “Please wait and see. After the election results it will be decided.”

Banerjee evaded giving a direct reply to a question on her prime ministerial ambition, saying, “I know my limitations. After the results are out, people will decide.”

Asked whether she would give support to Narendra Modi if in a post-poll scenario that would help him form the government, Banerjee categorically said “I will not. We cannot support communal forces.”

“Don’t you know what happened in Gujarat? We cannot because India is a country with so many languages, caste and creed. We respect all religions,” she said.

Reminded that she had not withdrawn support to NDA after the Gujarat riots, she said “We demanded Narendra Modi’s resignation as chief minister and demanded that the government should go.”