Telugu Desam Party supremo and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, who was initially scheduled to meet Congress former chief Sonia Gandhi in the national capital had rushed to Kolkata and closeted with his West Bengal counterpart, Mamatha Benerji. He held talks with her over opposition unity ahead of the May 23 counting. Sources say that Mamatha Benerji too had made her mind that she was in the race for the Prime Minister post, if Narendra Modi has to be kept away from power. She sought Naidu’s support for her candidature.
While it is not known what the TDP chief had told Mamatha Benerji about the opposition unity, the Congress-led UPA partners are meeting in Delhi on Tuesday. Interestingly, Chandrababu Naidu too is joining this meet, where a decision on the prime minister candidature is likely to be taken. The Congress is not ready yet to part with the Prime Minister post, but in the larger interests of keeping Narendra Modi away, it had initially agreed on the candidature of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who is also in the race.
Mayawati’s candidature is already backed by Samajwadi Party and the Congress too is not averse to the BSP supremo’s claim. The opposition parties have to come to an understanding on the candidature between Mayawati and Mamatha Benerji. While it is difficult for the Congress, a big brother in the opposition side, the political compulsions are such that the Congress has to keep out of the race.
Interestingly, the Communist parties too have given their consent for the candidature of Mayawati, and have categorically opposed the candidature of Mamatha. The Mamatha’s Trinamool Congress is the rival for the Left parties in West Bengal, where they lost the power to her and don’t want to support her for any reason.
It is in this background the Congress is holding UPA meeting in Delhi on Tuesday where Chandrababu Naidu too is likely to be present. If the meeting works out positively, the UPA partners and others in the opposition would meet the President on Wednesday and stake claim to form the government if there is no clear majority to the NDA or UPA.