In a major development of forming a united coalition one last time to counter the NDA, TDP Chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, on Saturday met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his New Delhi residence, Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati in Lucknow. He also met NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Loktantrik Janata Dal Chief Sharad Yadav, and AAP Chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
As he arrived in Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow, he first met Akhilesh Yadav and waved at the media persons waiting to know the agenda of their meet. However, they did not speak anything and soon after he met BSP supremo Mayawati. Both the leaders posed for a picture as they met.
Sources said to Republic TV that the meetings were indicative of Naidu's desperation, highlighting that he was trying to form an alliance even before the last phase of polling in case his numbers reduce drastically.
Here are the pictures:
Sources also said that the agenda of the meeting is to band together all non-NDA allies to form the 'mahagathbandhan' again in a poll alliance attempt headed by Naidu. The Andhra Pradesh CM is allegedly armed with survey data which claims that BJP is predicted to win only 179 seats while Congress is predicted to win 129 seats. Hence, he is reportedly requesting all leaders to ally with each other to raise a credible number to oppose the BJP.
Earlier on May 9, Naidu had held a closed-door discussion with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kharagpur on future plans of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance).
The meeting between Banerjee and Naidu took place for over 15 minutes late on May 9 evening, according to a well-placed source in the Trinamool Congress.
The two leaders met and spoke about the future plans of the Mahagatbandhan. Naidu and Didi (Banerjee) also discussed the TDP leaders meeting with Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on May 8, a senior TMC member told PTI.
A day before the above meeting, Naidu met with Rahul Gandhi and discussed plans to hold a meeting of Opposition parties on May 21, two days ahead of Lok Sabha results to chalk out a post-poll alliance. In a brief meeting, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief is believed to have discussed the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) issue, the voting percentage in the recently held five-phase polling besides the Andhra Assembly election developments, the sources said. Sources said Naidu and Gandhi also discussed the post-poll scenario.
Naidu is not the only one making an effort to revive the 'grand alliance'. UPA chairperson and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to a number of parties - both UPA allies and other non-NDA parties - including the BJD, YSRCP, TDP and TRS inviting them for a meeting on result day, as per sources, in order for a message to be sent that they are all rallying together on the verdict.
Sources added that Sonia Gandhi is writing personally to all the parties mentioned above and that the meeting, depending on or irrespective of the result, may witness a discussion on the roadmap for the future course of action.