Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, to discuss the possibility of a grand Opposition coalition following the Lok Sabha election results.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also met Communist Party of India leaders G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja over breakfast in Delhi, PTI reported. After his meetings in the Capital, Naidu flew to Lucknow to meet Yadav and Mayawati.
“Naidu reportedly told all the leaders that we all should come together and put our act together,” PTI reported quoting a source. The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also advised Gandhi to be ready with a strategy if the National Democratic Alliance falls short of a majority but still stakes claim to form the government.
Naidu met Yadav and Mayawati separately in Lucknow. He held a closed-door meeting with Yadav and then met Mayawati at her Mail Road Avenue residence. However, according to the Hindustan Times, Naidu later refused to reveal the details of the meeting. “You will come to know at an appropriate time,” he told reporters. The Telugu Desam Party chief also evaded a question on Yadav attending a meeting of Opposition party leaders on May 21.
An unidentified Samajwadi Party leader told the newspaper that the Uttar Pradesh alliance partners will have a meeting between themselves after the poll results are declared. Until then, they will not be party to any formal post-poll talks.
Naidu had said on Friday that any party which is against the BJP, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, are welcome to join the Opposition coalition.
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (Secular) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asked Opposition leaders not to make controversial remarks against each other. “We are on the verge of formation of a new government at the Centre,” he tweeted. “At this juncture where all efforts are being made to form a non-BJP government at the Centre, the contradictory statements by leaders of coalition partners may mar such efforts.”
Reports have suggested that United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has invited Opposition leaders to a meeting in New on May 23, in a bid to keep the Opposition united on counting day.