Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee met in Kolkata yesterday to discuss the prospects of a post-poll alliance of opposition parties against the Bharatiya Janata Party, sources said.
However, neither of them spoke to reporters following the 45-minute meeting held at Banerjee’s residence in south Kolkata’s Kalighat.
On his arrival, Naidu was welcomed by Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim.
According to the sources, the two leaders discussed the importance of uniting all anti-BJP parties under one umbrella and constituting a common minimum agenda.
Naidu also briefed Banerjee on his meetings with Congress president Rahul Gandhi, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Communist Party of India leaders Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja, the sources said.
However, even as the exit polls predicted a majority for the BJP-led alliance, the opposition camp is convinced that the National Democratic Alliance will fall short of numbers, due to which they are making an effort to cobble up an alternative.
Naidu has been trying to stitch up a coalition that could form a government if the NDA fails to cross the majority mark of 272 seats.
A leader of the opposition camp said the meetings that Naidu is holding with various leaders were “informal consultations” to assess the situation.
On Sunday night, Naidu rubbished the exit polls, saying such predictions have “time and again” failed to catch the pulse of the people.
Banerjee also slammed the exit polls, calling them “gossip”.
Raja, while refusing to believe the exit polls, told IANS yesterday that the “exact” poll results will have to be seen.
“Exit polls are not exact polls, as Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said,” he said.
The CPI leader said the Left will decide on its role only after the actual results are declared.
On the question of who would be the prime minister of an alliance of regional parties, he said it will be decided through consensus after the election results are declared.
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