A day after the Lok Sabha elections ended and exit polls predicted gains for the SP-BSP alliance alliance in politically crucial state Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav called on Mayawati at her residence in Lucknow on Monday.
The meeting comes two days ahead of the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections and in the backdrop of efforts at opposition unity by another regional leader TDP’s Chandra Babu Naidu
Naidu, who exit polls say faces a tough challenge on home turf by Jagan Mohan Redddy of the YSRCP, met Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav last week and is scheduled to meet Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata today, a day after pollsters predicted good gains for the BJP in West Bengal
Naidu called on the UP leaders separately in Lucknow on Saturday to invite them for the May 21 opposition meeting in Delhi. However, according to a senior SP leader, both alliance partners were non-committal. The senior SP leader said that Akhilesh and Mayawati were not keen on participating in any formal opposition meeting before the result day and will discuss issued between the two of them to decide the future course.
Naidu has been in the forefront of efforts to forge Opposition unity and has had several rounds of talks with key leaders. Exit poll predictions notwithstanding, the Opposition is planning to launch a pre-emptive strike by submitting a list of parties committed to an alternative government to the President before May 23, when the results will be declared.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Mahagatbandhan hopes to ride on the arithmetic majority they possess in the social calculations and win more seats than the BJP. Though all exit polls agreed that the NDA tally would come down from the spectacular 73 of 80 seats five years ago in the state, they disagreed on the impact the SP-BSP alliance, formed just before the Lok Sabha elections, would have in state.
In winning 73 seats in 2014, the BJP and ally Apna Dal had left only two to be won by the Congress and five by the SP, all of them by members of the first families of the two parties.
Mayawati’s BSP could not win a single seat in 2014. For this year’s general election it joined hands with arch rival SP in an attempt to limit the BJP. Any significant gain by the combine or gathbandhan in UP will mean a deep cut in the BJP’s overall tally.