WHILE THE results of the Lok Sabha elections may be a week away and one phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections is still left, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have reached out to Congress’s allies and other opposition parties and non-NDA parties, setting in motion an exercise aimed at shoring up support in the event of a splintered verdict.
Sources in the Congress confirmed that she has written to UPA constituents, inviting them for a meeting on May 23, the day counting of votes will take place. Sources said her emissaries are also reaching out to non-NDA parties like the BJD, YSRCP and TRS.
The idea behind convening a meeting of UPA parties on May 23, sources said, is to waste no time in trying to drum up the numbers and stake claim for government formation in the event of the ruling NDA falling well short of the magic figure of 272.
Gandhi so far has kept herself away from the hustle and bustle of campaigning leaving the responsibility of leading the Congress campaign to her son and party chief Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. As the elections reach the last mile, her moves indicate that the Congress feels the ruling BJP and the NDA may not get the required numbers to form government.
Gandhi is learnt to have already entrusted the task of reaching out to parties like the BJD and YSRCP to a set of senior leaders, prominent among them being Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Some of the opposition parties had earlier planned to meet in Delhi on May 21, two days before counting, but a consensus could not be arrived at as some parties were of the view that a meeting before the full picture becomes clear is meaningless exercise.
The BJP, meanwhile, poked fun at the Congress. “The decision that Congress friendly opposition parties will have to make is whether they want to mourn their defeat in isolation or participate in a collective mourning experience,” said BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao.