A day after exit polls predicted the return of the BJP-led NDA government, TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a meeting with TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her residence in Kolkata Monday.
TMC sources claimed the leaders discussed the possibility of the formation of a non-BJP government at the Centre in case of a hung verdict. Naidu reached Kolkata from Amaravati and the two leaders met for 45 minutes on the future strategies of the “mahagathbandhan”, sources said.
The meeting also discussed possibilities of forming a non-BJP government including regional parties with the support of the Congress. “It was decided at today’s meeting that a detailed discussion will be held among other political players of the mahagathbandhan in the event of a hung verdict after the poll results are declared on May 23, sources said.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav called Banerjee during the day and discussed the proposed strategy of the “mahagathbandhan”, sources said.
The decision on Banerjee going to New Delhi would also be taken after May 23, sources said. Naidu, who is making efforts to bring together Opposition leaders against the BJP, left for New Delhi after the meeting.
After the meet, Naidu reiterated his demand for at least 50 per cent verification of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM ) votes through voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). He said former Chief Election Commissioners of India, Navin Chawla and S Y Quraishi, also support the demand.
In a series of tweets, Naidu said, “Those who respect democracy are disappointed with how the EC conducted elections. Our fight to save democracy will continue. BJP candidates including the PM himself violated the Model Code of Conduct several times. A recent example being his over-publicized pompous holiday in Kedarnath. Why is the EC giving clean chits to BJP? One incident after other the EC has failed this democracy like never before.”
The previous day, Naidu had attacked both the exit polls and the EC. “We reiterate our demand to the ECI to count VVPATs in at least 50 % of polling stations. VVPATs should be counted in 5 polling stations in each Assembly Constituency at the beginning of counting process. In case of discrepancy, all VVPATs of Assembly Constituency shall be counted,” he tweeted.
On Sunday, Naidu had called on NCP chief Sharad Pawar and had also met CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. A day earlier, he had met BSP chief Mayawati and Yadav. During his meeting with Banerjee, the TDP chief spoke about the meetings, TMC sources said.
Exit polls have predicted the return of the BJP at Centre which Banerjee dismissed as “gossip”. She said she does not trust such surveys as the “game plan” is to use them for “manipulation” of EVMs.
Tweeting about the exit polls on Sunday, Naidu had said, “Time and again exit polls have failed to catch the People’s pulse. Exit polls have proved to be incorrect and far from ground reality in many instances. While undoubtedly TDP govt will be formed in AP, we are confident that non-BJP parties will form a non-BJP govt at the center.”— With PTI