New Delhi: Even though not actively involved in the Lok Sabha elections campaign this time, with the date of the poll results drawing near, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has started taking initiative for the strategic post-poll moves.
It is expected that Sonia Gandhi will be personally inviting the major opposition parties including the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP),Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Left Parties for the grand conference of the opposition parties to be convened on or before May 23.
Though the Andra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) had communicated with various party leaders, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerji (Trinamool Congress) had not given any assurance of participation. According to the assessments made by the Congress, Sonia herself need to take the initiative in order to pacify both Mamata and the BSP leader Mayawati both of whom have been dreaming of the Prime Ministerial post. The friendship that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have nurtured with the BSP leader Akhilesh Yadav is also deemed as invaluable during the post-poll strategies. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is expected to be deployed to test the grounds with Navin Patnaik of BJD. And the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M.K. Stalin is expected to act as the bridge towards Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress.
Congress is expected to try to attempt all possible means for forming a Government in the case of no party obtaining an absolute majority. At the same time, the Congress will not even hesitate to provide support to a Third Front Government led by the regional parties from outside if the party manages to win only 100 – 110 seats. However, in case the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) manages to win 200 seats on its own, the Congress fears that all calculations by the Opposition parties would come to nought and that Narendra Modi will assume power once again with the support of the other allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In such a scenario, regional parties like BJD, TRS or YRS Congress, which are already perched on the wall, may abscond from the Opposition line up. Sonia Gandhi’s entry into the post-poll scenario is also expected to work out strategies to avoid such a situation.
Congress expects the other allies in the UPA including DMK, RJD, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), JDS, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and National Conference, to win a minimum of 50 seats altogether. The non-UPA – NDA parties may win up to 110 – 120 seats. The 70 – 80 seats which would be won by SP, BSP, Trinamool and the Left Parties would, in no way, go the NDA way. However, the Congress realises that the remaining 40 or so seats that could be won by TRS, YSR Congress and BJD, could turn in any direction. Though the Congress has been publicly rebutting the signals dropped by TRS for joining the Opposition front through DMK, in the backstage, the party is not ready to drop K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
“Backstage discussions with other political parties are usually done during the polls. Congress will be in the forefront of the political moves.” - Abhishek Singhvi, (Congress Spokesperson)
“It’d be possible to find the Prime Minister candidate through a consensus after considering the seats won by each of the Opposition parties. Modi is definitely on his way out.” – N. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP leader)
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not invincible. No one should not forget 2004.” – Sonia Gandhi (as told recently at Raebarely)