With the Lok Sabha elections drawing to a close and the Opposition predicting a hung parliament this time, the leaders of non-NDA parties have stepped up their efforts to cobble up a coalition for formation of the next government, with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu meeting Congress, CPI, NCP and other leaders.
Hours after meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi and discussig with him the possibilities of all opposition parties uniting and forging a joint opposition alliance, Naidu met Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also met CPI leader G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja over breakfast, asking them to "come together". Naidu also met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, LJD leader Sharad Yadav.
The TDP chief has already held several rounds of discussions with various opposition leaders, including TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
"Naidu reportedly told all the leaders that we all should come together and put our act together", in forming the next government by keeping the BJP out, a source said.
Sources said Naidu also told Gandhi to have a strategy ready, in case the NDA falls short of the majority mark and still stakes claim to form the government.
Earlier, it was reported that Opposition is planning to meet the President after the elections are over, to urge him not to call the single largest party to form the government in case of hung Parliament.
On Friday, Naidu had said that not only the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) but any outfit which is against the saffron party are welcome to join a grand alliance after the election results are declared.
Opposition parties are pitching for a joint anti-BJP front to steer the next government.
Hectic deliberations between various opposition leaders are likely to stepped up before the Lok Sabha results are announced on May 23.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has called for a meeting of leaders of non-NDA parties on May 23.
According to news agency ANI, Sonia – expecting that the BJP will fall short of majority – has invited leaders of secular parties including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK president M K Stalin, RJD and Trinamool Congress for the meeting.
Reportedly, invite has also been extended to Jagan Reddy of the YSR Congress and K Chandrashekar Rao of the TRS, apart from Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.
However, the attendance of Mayawati, Akhilesh and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is suspicious owing to the failed attempts to forge alliances in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
ANI quoted sources saying that the Congress has appointed four leaders – Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot – to working on ways to forge a post-poll coalition of like-minded parties.
Sources said that the Congress is confident that the BJP will not get majority and that it why it has speeded its attempts to form a front that can outdo the BJP in case of a hung Parliament.
Amid the efforts to bring all non-NDA parties together, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy urged Congress and his party members not to give controversial statements against each other.
"We are on the verge of formation of a new government at the Centre. 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," he tweeted.
"Hence, my humble request to the leaders of both the parties is to restrain from making contradictory- controversial statements in public and to support the cause," Kumaraswamy said.
However, former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda said they are all together and with the Congress in forming the next government.
There has been a war of words between the Congress and its alliance partners JD(S) in Karanataka for some time now.
(With PTI inputs)