Opposition parties step up efforts for anti-BJP coalition

With just four days to go for the results of Indian national polls, leaders of opposition parties on Saturday stepped up their efforts to put together an anti-BJP coalition for formation of the next government in the event of Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance falling well short of majority. At the centre of efforts was Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu who held a series of back-to-back meetings with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and leaders. 

Naidu met Rahul in Delhi and discussed with him the possibilities of all opposition parties uniting and forging a joint alliance to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party at bay. In Delhi, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister also met Communist Party of India leaders G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja over breakfast, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Lok Jan D leader Sharad Yadav. From Delhi, Naidu flew to Lucknow, capital city of Uttar Pradesh state, where he met Bahunjan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and her alliance partner Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.

Naidu, who snapped ties with BJP-led alliance in March last year, has already held several rounds of discussions with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. “Naidu told all the leaders that we all should come together and put our act together in forming the next government to keep the BJP out,” a CPI leader said.

Sources said Naidu also told Gandhi to have a strategy ready in case majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha eludes the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance which could still stakes claim to form the government if it emerges as the largest pre-poll combine in terms of number of seats. On Friday, Naidu had said sent out a conciliatory gesture to his traditional rival Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), another key regional party which rules Telangana, saying he is open to working with any anti-BJP outfit after the election results are declared.