- Mayawati has attacked both BJP and Congress throughout her campaign
- She had even left Congress out of alliance in UP
- Tomorrow's meeting is being seen as a significant outreach
Mayawati will meet with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi tomorrow in what is seen as a significant outreach after the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief carried out an acrimonious campaign that was unsparing of the Congress.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister attacked the BJP and the Congress in the same breath throughout her campaign in the national election, for which she teamed up with old rival Samajwadi Party.
But even as she left the Congress out of her gathbandhan in UP, Mayawati said all the votes of the alliance would go to the Congress in Amethi and Raebareli, the constituencies of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Mayawati's meeting with the Congress top two is the latest in a series of meetings among opposition parties ahead of the results on Thursday, May 23.
The three were last seen in public together when Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy took oath last year as chief minister of a coalition government with the Congress. Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi's big smiles and forehead bump portrayed bonhomie that was not to be for long.
The two parties failed to agree on seat sharing for the Madhya Pradesh state polls, and a furious Mayawati started clubbing the Congress along with the BJP as her top enemies. But now that the polls are over and talk revolves around numbers, Mayawati realizes that even if she want the top post, no non-BJP coalition can come to power without Congress help.
Sources say Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has held a series of meetings since he arrived in Delhi on Friday, is the facilitator of the Mayawati-Gandhi meeting.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief met Rahul Gandhi on Saturday before flying to UP capital Lucknow to meet Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.
Mr Naidu held a second meeting with Rahul Gandhi today.
He has also held discussions with other opposition players like NCP's Sharad Pawar and Left leader Sitaram Yechury, and reached out to his rival K Chandrasekhara Rao, who has been busy with his own mission to stitch up a non-Congress, non-BJP front. The Telangana Chief Minister "was welcome" to join his efforts, Mr Naidu told reporters.
Sources say Mr Naidu personally assesses that the NDA cannot get more than 200 seats. He has reportedly urged the Congress leadership to prepare for the possibility of the BJP-led NDA ending up with fewer seats than it anticipates, giving the opposition a window. Sonia Gandhi, who remains the UPA chairperson even after handing charge of the Congress to her son, has taken the lead for an opposition meeting on the day of the results, for which invites have already been sent out.