India: Mayawati, Tipu may follow Didi, skip key opposition meet

  • Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party are likely to skip the proposed opposition meeting to be held in Delhi between the last phase of polling on 19 May 19 and counting of votes on 23 May 19.
  • The meeting, being initiated by TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, is tentatively scheduled on 21 May 19, subject to the availability of senior opposition leaders. Naidu had reached out to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata with the proposal for this meeting.
  • Reports state that Mamata had expressed her reservation over attending any meeting before the declaration of Lok Sabha election results. “SP is of the view that any such meeting of the opposition parties will be constructive only once the picture is clear with regards to who is bringing what to the table,” said a senior SP leader
  • Sources also said both Mayawati and Akhilesh have also aired similar reservations and are unlikely to attend any such meeting before the results are announced.
  • Senior BSP leaders said the party’s supremo, Mayawati, maintains that any such meeting of opposition parties would be meaningless till there was some clarity on the number of seats that each party would represent in Parliament.
  • On whether a coalition of regional parties will include the Congress in government formation or keep it out if such an opportunity arises, he said, “You cannot have such restrictions. You need the magic figure (272 seats) to form the government. Restrictions will ultimately break the unity.”
  • He lauded the Congress president by terming him a good leader, but evaded a direct reply to the question whether Rahul Gandhi’s name could be proposed as prime ministerial candidate, saying if he names someone others might get hurt which will break the opposition unity.
  • While Naidu is keen to have all opposition parties on board, including Congress, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has started building bridges with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and DMK chief MK Stalin to push for a non-Congress, non-BJP federal front with regional parties.
  • Meanwhile, DMK President MK Stalin on 14 May 19 said he saw no chances for a non-BJP, non-Congress, “third front” post Lok Sabha polls, but a decision could be taken only after 23 May 19, the counting day.
  • Naidu also wondered whether such a proposition would really work.

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