New Delhi: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) welcomed Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's comments on early elections, the Left called it a case of blackmail. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said, "These small parties blackmail the government. We have reached here passing all the challenges till now and we would fight this challenge also. It has become impossible for parties like ours to fight in the elections."
Yechury's comments came after Mamata Banerjee triggered a debate on the possibility of mid-term elections. She claimed she has information that a political party in Delhi had held a meeting to advance the Lok Sabha poll to 2013 and asked her party workers to be ready for it.
Reacting to Mamata's comments, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, "Mamata Banerjee should get rid of this government. She has hinted at early polls in 2013. The BJP wants the elections to take place in 2012 itself. The sooner this government leaves, the better it will be."
However, the Congress remained firm that the Lok Sabha elections would happen as per the schedule in 2014. Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "Every political party should be ready for elections anytime. UPA II will complete its term. The elections will happen at their scheduled time."
"There may be a difference of opinion. In a democracy, it's very much possible," Alvi added.
Earlier on Friday, Mamata had said that she'd heard that a party in Delhi had held a meeting to advance the Lok Sabha elections by one year to 2013.
"Any day, we can face election. We have to remain ready," she said.
"One party has held a meeting to hold the election in advance, though my information may not be correct," Mamata told a meeting of Trinamool Congress without naming the party.
"I have got the information. I am not going into details as to who were at the meeting. They deliberated on advancing the Lok Sabha election to 2013," she said.
Mamata turned to her close aide and Railway Minister and said "What Mukul? Wasn't the meeting held?
Mamata's claim contradicts the UPA's stand that elections won't be advanced.
(With additional information from PTI)