Top opposition leaders met here on Tuesday, ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results on May 23, to discuss the possibility of a non-NDA alliance staking claim to government formation.
They will also move the Election Commission (EC) to press for their demand of tallying the paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with the electronic voting machine (EVM) figures.
Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress, TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), D Raja of the CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O'Brien of the TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of the SP, Kanimozhi of the DMK, Manoj Jha (RJD), Majeed Memon (NCP), Devinder Rana (NC) are taking part in the meeting among others.
Delhi: A meeting of opposition leaders is underway at the Constitution Club of India. pic.twitter.com/0AB86GJ2zB— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2019
"On VVPATs and the EVM tally, the EC is yet to come out with a procedure in case there is a mismatch. Even if there is one mismatch in the VVPAT samples picked for counting and EVMs, to maintain the integrity of the electoral process, all VVPATs in that Assembly segment must be counted," Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Yechury said.
Earlier, as part of his efforts to unite the opposition, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu held a meeting with his West Bengal counterpart, Mamata Banerjee, at her Kolkata residence on forming a non-BJP government at the Centre in case of a hung verdict.
Naidu had a 45-minute meeting with Banerjee on the future strategies of the "Mahagathbandhan" (Grand Alliance), during which he also discussed the possibilities of forming a non-BJP government, including regional parties, with the support of the Congress.
"It was decided at the meeting that a detailed discussion will be held with other players of the Mahagathbandhan in the event of a hung verdict," a source said.
The decision on Banerjee going to New Delhi would also be taken after May 23, the source added.
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav also telephoned Banerjee during the day and discussed the strategy of the "Mahagathbandhan", sources said.
Naidu has been moving around across the country and has held several rounds of discussions with top opposition leaders in a bid to unite them and form an alliance to stake claim to form the next government in case the NDA falls short of the majority mark.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief met Banerjee again on Monday evening to discuss the political scenario in the wake of the exit poll predictions.
On Sunday, Naidu met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi separately in New Delhi, besides NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. The TDP leader has already met other top opposition leaders such as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal, Left leaders and Sharad Yadav in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Akhilesh and Mayawati also held a meeting and discussed their strategy going forward.
However, in view of the exit polls, most of which have predicted a majority for the BJP-led NDA, the opposition has turned a bit cautious and decided not to hold any formal meetings.
Top Congress leaders also held a meeting under the guidance of Sonia Gandhi on Saturday, where the current political situation was discussed.
Sources said the opposition strategy was to procure letters of support from various parties and in case of a hung verdict, to present the same before the president to stake claim to form the government.
They added that the opposition did not want to leave anything to chance and did not wish to waste any time in staking claim for government formation and thus, was putting its house in order.
Notwithstanding the exit poll predictions, the opposition is going ahead with its strategy as most parties have trashed the forecast and claimed that the NDA would not get a majority in the Lok Sabha.
Opposition leaders are citing previous examples when exit polls were proved wrong, as also elsewhere in the world like the surprise result in Australia.
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