India waits for May 23, BJP, Congress line up parleys with regional parties


New Delhi, May 20: Buoyed by exit poll results, which predicted that the NDA government would return to power, BJP chief Amit Shah will host a dinner in Delhi on Tuesday for alliance partners, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expected to be in attendance. Before the dinner, a meeting of Union Ministers is also scheduled at the BJP headquarters.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party’s Ram Vilas Paswan are likely to attend the meeting, which comes two days ahead of counting of votes on May 23.
Besides, leaders of the NDA in Tamil Nadu, including Chief Minister K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, will also grace the event. Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said the meeting was being organised to “thank” NDA constituents for their hard work during the Lok Sabha polls, as well as to discuss “future schemes”.
“NDA leaders had worked very hard (during the polls). Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of NDA leaders to thank them (for this) and to discuss future schemes,” PTI quoted Soundararajan as saying.
On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu continued his efforts to unite Opposition parties ahead of May 23 and met Mamata Banerjee at her residence on Monday evening.
The two leaders discussed possibilities of forming a non-BJP government with the support of the Congress and regional parties. “It was decided at today’s meeting that a detailed discussion will be held among other political players of the Mahagatbandhan in the event of a hung verdict after the poll results are declared on May 23,” PTI quoted sources as saying.
In the past couple of day, Naidu has met Congress president Rahul Gandhi twice, Sonia Gandhi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and apprised them of the details of his conversations with Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. The TDP chief has also met Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav in the national capital and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Meanwhile, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has already reached out to Congress’s allies and other opposition parties and non-NDA parties for a meeting on May 23. Sources said her emissaries have also reached out to fence sitters like BJD, YSRCP and TRS.
The idea behind convening a meeting on May 23, sources said, is to waste no time in trying to drum up the numbers and stake claim for government formation in the event of the ruling NDA falling well short of the magic figure of 272. (Courtesy: IE)