A meeting of leaders of the Trinamool Congress, JD-U, SP and National Conference was held on Wednesday at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence here with an initial aim to join hands to contain the BJP in the forthcoming Bihar elections, informed sources said.A senior leader privy to the proceedings told IANS that the first such meeting was aimed at Bihar assembly polls but "in future something substantial and larger may emerge"."The parties have to contribute to containing BJP in the Bihar polls. If BJP wins this election, it will have bearing on the future," the leader said.The Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-United on Wednesday announced they will contest 100 seats each in the Bihar assembly elections, leaving 40 seats to the Congress and three to the Nationalist Congress Party.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who also heads her Trinamool, along with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav were invited by Pawar to tea.
Other leaders included present included Tariq Anwar and Praful Patel of Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party and Samajwadi Party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav.Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, of the Aam Aadmi Party, was not invited for the meeting, a government source said.Patel said there was no agenda for the meeting."It was a grouping of smaller parties, to get together and share thoughts on the issues of national interest."This was a meeting of all like-minded parties. There will be a meeting on September 22 which will have something to do with Bihar elections. This meeting was arranged on the suggestion of Mamata Banerjee, who on her visit to Delhi requested Mr Pawar to organize such a get together," he said.Mulayam Singh said after the meeting that they discussed issues of national interest like unemployment, farmers' issue, women's safety and cooperative federalism."We want to send a message that we are all together ahead of the Bihar elections. We will fight together and remain united. We'll again meet on September 22," he said.