‘There is a feeling among the Opposition parties that there cannot be a viable alternative at the Centre, sans Congress.’

 

New Delhi: Failing to unite before the Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition parties have swung into action to form a non-BJP alliance after the results are announced. While the Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partners are confident that they will bounce back to power, the Opposition parties are hoping that no party will get a clear majority.

These parties are planning to hold a meeting on 21 May, two days ahead of the Lok Sabha results, in order to explore the possibility of a post-poll alliance. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu met his West Bengal counterpart and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee in Kharagpur this week to work out the contours of the post-poll alliance in the event of a hung Parliament.

Interestingly, the meeting came two days after Naidu meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the national capital. TMC, as of now, is not a part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Congress but, sources said, there is a feeling among the Opposition parties that there cannot be a viable alternative at the Centre, sans Congress.

As a gesture of support, Naidu also took part in an election rally of TMC at Kharagpur and urged people to vote for the party candidate in the elections. He also addressed another TMC rally in North Kolkata. Banerjee, it is to be noted, had floated the idea of a Federal Front of regional parties against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), before the elections, which, however, could not take shape.

The Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases. So far, polling in five phases is over and the counting of votes will be done on 23 May.

Sources said Naidu is also in touch with Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati respectively. Opposition leaders feel that in case the results are not decisive, the ambit of the UPA will have to be widened. “There cannot be any credible coalition at the Centre in which the Congress is not a participant. Therefore, Congress will have to be there. But at the same time, those parties which are not part of Congress-led UPA, like SP, BSP, TMC etc, will also have to be taken on board,” a source added.

The source, however, said that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) may not attend the proposed meeting of the Opposition parties on 21 May. “TRS chief and Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao may not be a part of any grouping which has the presence of Chandrababu Naidu,” he added.

In last year’s Assembly elections, the TDP had contested the elections in Telangana in alliance with the Congress, taking on the TRS. During campaigning, KCR had launched an all-out attack on Naidu. While Naidu has been supporting the Congress’ presence in the non-BJP coalition, KCR has been pushing the idea of a non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front of regional
parties.

 

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