New Delhi: In a move clearly aimed at strengthening opposition unity and to checkmate the Narendra Modi-led NDA, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has written to all UPA allies and non-NDA parties — namely the BJD, the YSR Congress, the TRS and the TD — inviting them for a meeting on May 23 to discuss the future course of action.
The meeting, which has been called on the day when the Lok Sabha election results are to be announced, holds significance as sources point out that the message sent out by Ms Gandhi is that all UPA and non-NDA parties need to rally together after the verdict.
While the UPA allies are on board, sources said that special efforts have been made to bring on board the non-NDA entities like the BJD, YSR Congress and the TRS for the proposed meeting.
When Mr Rao met M.K. Stalin in Chennai on Monday, the DMK chief reportedly explained his party’s firm stand against the BJP and suggested that instead, the Telangana Chief Minister should support the UPA to form government at the Centre.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have personally spoken to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, requesting him to attend the May 23 meeting. Both leaders have known each other personally. Mr Modi’s recent meeting with Mr Patnaik after both of them conducted the aerial survey of the cyclone-affected regions of Odisha, had given a lot of grist to speculations regarding the BJP sending signals to the BJD in case there is a case of an alliance after the results. Ms Gandhi’s outreach to the Odisha Chief Minister, therefore, holds a lot of significance.
Whether Mr Patnaik attends the May 23 meeting, along with YSR Congress’ Jagan Mohan Reddy and TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao would depend entirely on the poll results.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, TD supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu termed Congress president Rahul Gandhi a “good leader who has concerns for the nation” and asserted that unlike 1996, non-BJP parties won’t commit the mistake of keeping the Congress out if such an alliance forms a government at the Centre.