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Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of dividing the people based on religious identities , West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged all regional parties to come together for the sake of the nation while stating it is the 'need of the hour'.
"It is the need of the hour for all regional parties to come together for the sake of the nation. The BJP is dividing the people on religious backgrounds. We respect all religions but Hinduism is our biggest identity. I am proud of my religion. I am proud of all religions. Hinduism means tolerance. The BJP is defaming Hinduism. Riots cannot be religion," she added.
Meanwhile, the leaders of various political parties also echoed Mamata's assertion that the BJP was not a threat and said there would be no scope for the saffron party to form the next government if all regional parties unite.
"This is hundred percent true. The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot do anything, if the regional parties unite together. If the regional parties of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh come together then there will be no scope for the BJP to form the next government," Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Ashok Sinha told ANI.
"Regional parties are very important and to underestimate them or to ignore them is disrespect to federal structure," Ranjan told ANI.
"What Mamata Banerjee has said is true. There is strong hold of regional parties in many states. If they believe to defeat the BJP, they should join a grand alliance to defeat the NDA's 33 party alliance," Malik told ANI.
Mamata's assertion came post her meeting with Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik.
"They divide caste, parties. They divide Hindu-Muslims. They also purchase ministers, MLAs. We don't do that. We believe in unity," she told the media here.
Mamata also stated that the secular parties were always together.
Responding to a poser on having discussions on forming an alliance to stand against the BJP, Patnaik said they did not have any talks regarding the same.
"We had no such discussions today," Patnaik said.