Ahead of poll results, Naidu meets Mamata

Kolkata, May 20 (IANS/Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/20/2019 11:28:11 AM IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee met here on Monday to discussed the prospects of the post-poll alliance of the opposition parties against the BJP, sources said.

However, neither of them talked to the media following the around 45-minute-long meeting that was held at Banerjee’s residence in south Kolkata’s Kalighat.

On his arrival, Naidu was welcomed by Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim.

According to the sources, the two leaders discussed the importance of uniting all the anti-BJP parties under one umbrella and constituting a common minimum agenda. Naidu also briefed Banerjee regarding his meetings with Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday, sources said.

Meanwhile, according to Zeenews, The TDP chief, who is at forefront of efforts to form a non-BJP government at the Centre, had met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury on Sunday.

Naidu also later held discussions with Sonia Gandhi, UPA chairperson, and discussed the post-poll scenario with her. 

Naidu met Sonia Gandhi in the evening of Sunday and their meeting lasted for about 45 minutes.

On Saturday, Naidu had met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Yechury, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, and CPI leaders Sudhakar Reddy and Secretary D Raja before flying to Lucknow to meet Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati. 

These meetings are a part of Naidu’s continuing outreach to the opposition party leaders to firm up a non-BJP front. 

On Friday, he had said that all parties, including rival K Chandrashekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), were welcome to join the non-BJP ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand-alliance).  It may be recalled that Naidu had earlier rejected the exit poll prediction by saying that time and again the exit polls have failed to catch the pulse of the people. “Exit polls have proved to be incorrect and far from ground reality in many instances,” the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief tweeted after a majority of exit polls favoured the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to form the government by winning about 300 seats.

“While undoubtedly TDP govt will be formed in AP, we are confident that non-BJP parties will form a non-BJP govt at the Centre,” Naidu said. Naidu also reiterated the demand that the Election Commission count voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips in at least 50 per cent of the polling stations.

“VVPATs should be counted in five polling stations in each Assembly constituency at the beginning of the counting process. In case of discrepancy, all VVPATs of Assembly constituencies should be counted,” he said. According to the TDP sources, Naidu is also expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday about his efforts to cobble up an anti-BJP front with like-minded leaders.

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