Using the predictions of the exit polls that gave a comfortable comeback for the NDA, the BJP's Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena today sought to give a pause to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who has been meeting top opposition leaders in an apparent bid to form a non-BJP coalition at the centre.
"Why Chandrababu Naidu is exhausting himself without any reason? Hope his current excitement last till May 23. We wish him luck for the same," the Shiv Sena said in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana.
The Telegu Desam Party (TDP) chief met Congress president Rahul Gandhi twice and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday evening, after he flew back to Delhi from Lucknow where he met former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, whose parties fought the national election in an alliance.
He also had a sit-down with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, CPI leader Sudhakar Reddy and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav.
Despite the exit polls predictions, Mr Naidu is pushing ahead, as he is also scheduled to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today, news agency PTI reported quoting unnamed sources.
"There are at least five contenders for the Prime Minister's post in opposition. There are more chances of their disillusionment. Who will form the government? This question has already been answered. Amit Shah said that BJP will win 300 seats and the party reached that target in the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections only," the BJP's cantankerous ally said in its editorial. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often targeted the opposition as a "mahamilavti (adulterated)" grouping whose key leaders are eyeing the top post in an unhealthy race.
The exit polls appear to have an effect on Mr Naidu's efforts, with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party today saying she will not fly to Delhi to meet Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi.
The poll of polls, an aggregate of exit polls, gives the BJP-led NDA 302 of 543 seats and the Congress and its allies 122.
Mr Naidu's TDP walked out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's coalition in March last year over financial support for Andhra Pradesh. The TDP was the first party to extend its support to the BJP in 2014.
The four-year BJP-TDP alliance had crashed after Mr Naidu escalated his campaign for special category status to Andhra Pradesh as promised after Telangana was carved out of it in 2014. Special status would mean a large infusion of central funds to help with the state government's plans to develop its new capital Amaravati.
Voting in the last of the seven-phase national election ended on Sunday. Results will be out on May 23.
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