Will Chandrababu Naidu turn the kingmaker?

Will Chandrababu Naidu turn the kingmaker?
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. Photo: PTI
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On Sunday evening, when exit poll results would be streamed across TV screens, the country would get an inkling as to which way the elections results would go. The exit polls may not be foolproof; the political parties have their own feedback system as to how many seats they would win.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah had on Friday asserted that the BJP on its own would get a massive majority when results would be declared on May 23. On the other hand, the opposition parties are claiming Modi's days are numbered. In event of the BJP falling way short of majority, the situation may throw up many kingmakers, including many with aspirations to become the king. With the developments on Saturday, has TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu emerged as one among the front-runners?

Hectic movement has begun to bring together a motley group of parties on the same platform to cobble up a joint front if numbers do favour them. Naidu is doing the initial groundwork in bringing together all the regional parties. According to BJP's own assessment, it may not have done well in Andhra Pradesh. Naidu is up against Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress in the state.

Mamata Banerjee, who was active before the elections were announced for a federal front, is still caught up in the last phase of a bitter fought elections in her state. She is expected to join the meeting of all the parties called by Congress patron Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on May 23. Both leaders are defined by their strong anti-BJP campaigns during these elections.

Naidu planned a hectic trip to Delhi as he met leaders from across party lines. Starting with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Naidu held meetings with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, followed by those with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Sharad Yadav. From Delhi he headed to Lucknow to meet SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati.

(This story first appeared in The Week)

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