Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu today met Rahul Gandhi for the second time as he continued his meetings with opposition leaders including Uttar Pradesh rivals-turned-alliance partners Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in an apparent attempt to knit a non-BJP formation at the Centre. Mr Naidu also met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today.
Mr Naidu, who arrived in Delhi on Friday, met with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar for a second time today.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader had yesterday travelled to UP capital Lucknow to meet Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati.
Mr Naidu gifted both Akhilesh and Mayawati a box of mangoes each.
"It is a pleasure to welcome Hon''ble Chief Minister Shri N Chandrababu Naidu Ji to Lucknow," Akhilesh Yadav tweeted after the 70-minute meeting. His meeting with Mayawati also lasted an hour.
Though the Andhra Pradesh chief minister did not speak to the media after any of his meetings, he reportedly discussed with Rahul Gandhi the possibility of forming a joint alliance of all opposition parties, sources said.
The Chief Minister is also believed to have told Rahul Gandhi to have a strategy ready in the event of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance falling short of a majority and still staking claim to form the government.
Mr Naidu, who quit the BJP-led coalition last year, urged opposition leaders to "put our act together" to form the next government, according to reports.
After his discussions with the TDP chief, Rahul Gandhi met former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders at his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's home.
"The campaigning of this Lok Sabha Election 2019 has ended and as we await the last phase of polling, Andhra Pradesh CM Shri N Chandrababu Naidu paid me a visit to discuss the ongoing and future political scenario of our country," Sharad Pawar said in a tweet.
Mr Naidu has held several rounds of discussion with various opposition leaders, including Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
His Telangana counterpart and fierce rival K Chandrasekhara Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has also held several meeting to evolve a "non-BJP, non-Congress" federal front.
Mr Naidu said not just the TRS but any outfit against the BJP was welcome to join a grand alliance after the election results were declared on May 23.
Sonia Gandhi, who has stayed away from active politics for a long time because of her health, has also joined efforts for opposition unity and called a meeting on May 23, the invitations for which have already been sent out.