Kolkata: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that next month`s panchayat elections were a dress rehearsal for the Lok Sabha polls, which she claimed would be held in November.
"My understanding is that the Lok Sabha elections will be held sometime in mid November and the panchayat elections are a run up to it. So we must start preparations from today," Banerjee told a meeting with TMC Rajya Sabha members, according to a party insider.
Banerjee, the West Bengal Chief Minister, also touched on the proposed Food Security Bill of the UPA government and dismissed it as a `gimmick`.
She also doubted the efficacy of the proposed cash transfer in lieu of foodgrains saying it would be of no use since banking infrastructure was not available in remote areas.
All the nine party Rajya Sabha members including Kunal Ghosh, against whom there were allegations of links with the Saradha Group, a charge denied by him, were present at the meeting.
This was the first appearance of Ghosh at a TMC forum since the Saradha chit fund bust.
A party source said that the agenda was a discussion on MPLADs funds, but some other issues were also taken up.
A senior TMC MP said that the Saradha issue did not figure.
TMC Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O`Brien said that the chief minister discussed utilisation of MPLAD funds during the 90-minute meeting.