Chandrababu Naidu Reinforces Opposition Unity With Meets in Bengal, Delhi

Chandrababu Naidu will address a rally today and tomorrow, the two leaders will share stage at a rally in Lalgarh - part of Jangalmahal, the extensive forest area in the western part of the state that was once a Maoist stronghold.

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Chandrababu Naidu Reinforces Opposition Unity With Meets in Bengal, Delhi

Chandrababu Naidu does not think it is likely to have a front keeping out both the Congress and the BJP


Kolkata: 

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has an extensive programme for his visit to Bengal today that will culminate with a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tomorrow.

Mr Naidu will address two rallies today, and tomorrow the two leaders will share stage at a rally in Kharagpur, a town near Kolkata, where Ms Banerjee was monitoring the ground situation ahead of last week's Cyclone Fani.

Mr Naidu will be coming from Delhi, where he had a meeting with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to discuss the plans for an opposition meeting on May 21, two days before the counting of votes takes place.

Mr Naidu's move is seen as a part of a sudden consolidation among the opposition parties in face of a renewed push for a non-Congress, non-BJP Federal Front "in the 1996 formula" by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. KCR as he is popularly known in the state, met Pinarayi Vijayan, his Kerala counterpart, yesterday.

While the move for such a front has not gained much traction yet, in case of a hung verdict, Mr Rao is likely have a following.

Mr Naidu has made it clear that he does not think it is likely to have a front keeping out both Congress and the BJP. In an interview to NDTV yesterday, he said "In this country there are some political compulsions. Only one time, regional parties, rather the Third Front, dominated... Today, either the BJP or the Congress has to support".

While 69-year-old appeared unperturbed by the efforts of his arch-rival, at rallies in Bengal, both Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee toned down their rhetoric against each other.

The opposition meeting ahead of counting is aimed as a strategy session - so far 21 parties have ranged themselves against the BJP at the national level. While most parties are claiming to have a good showing in the states, especially in Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, there is also a plan to write to President Ram Nath Kovind once the last two phases of the elections are over.

Sources have told NDTV that they plan to request the President not to call the single largest party to form the government in case of a split verdict. The parties are expected to sign a letter saying once the results are out, they will be ready to show the President their letters of support for an alternative government.



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