As the fifth phase of polling was underway on Monday, speculation of a Third Front gathered momentum with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao set to meet his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram.
"Rao will meet Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday at 6pm. In view of the Parliament elections, both the CMs will discuss contemporary politics," an official release said.
Rao will also visit Rameshwaram and Srirangam temples, and return to Hyderabad, it said.
Known as KCR, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief, has been proposing a non-BJP, non-Congress federal front at the Centre.
Last year, Rao had made much publicised efforts with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to form a “non-BJP, non-Congress” front, though the initiative appeared to be on the back-burner.
Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said that the developments indicated that Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s chances of forming government a second time are fading fast, and that KCR "understands the pulse of politics".
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Adding to the conjecture, the TRS chief also spoke with Karnataka Chief Minster HD Kumaraswamy on Monday morning. He is to also meet DMK Chief MK Stalin on May 13 in Chennai as part of his ‘Third Front’ tour ahead of the vote counting on May 23.
His meeting with the Kerala chief minister is to prepare the ground for the numbers that will emerge on May 23.
The non-BJP, non-Cong parties are expected to make major gains in the elections.
Last week, Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar had claimed that neither Narendra Modi nor Congress president Rahul Gandhi will become the next prime minister, and that someone from the "Third Front" may occupy the chair after the elections.
Ambedkar, convener of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), said former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda could be a "dark horse" for the post.
The VBA, a political front floated by Ambedkar and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, contested all the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
Interacting with mediapersons at the Mumbai Press Club, the grandson of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar sounded confident about the VBA doing well in the elections.
"According to my estimate, no party is going to get a majority and therefore neither Narendra Modi nor Rahul Gandhi will get a chance to become the prime minister. "Someone from the Third Front may emerge as a surprise candidate to occupy this coveted post. Who will be PM is a wild guess as of now. But I foresee Deve Gowda could be a dark horse for the Prime Minister's post," he said.
“HD Deve Gowda is more acceptable as he did not interfere in the states when he was the PM. The second one is K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telengana CM) as he had performed very well in the recent Assembly polls and will also do good in the Lok Sabha,” said Ambedkar.
Ambedkar said the JDS leader from Karnataka will be an acceptable PM candidate for the non-BJP and non-Congress parties. "The BJP is not going to get a majority and in that case, Modi will not become the prime minister. On the other hand, the Congress has rivals in each state and heads of regional parties in those states will not accept a prime minister from the Congress party," the former MP claimed.
The Dalit leader said the BJP will get 148-200 Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress's tally will be around 100. The rest of the seats will be shared by regional parties and outfits like the VBA.
Talking about his own outfit's performance, he said the VBA has "succeeded" in getting the support of new generation of Muslim voters, which is quite encouraging. "We could form a Dalit-Muslim aghadi (front)," he said, adding the Lok Sabha poll outcome will have a bearing on the Maharashtra assembly elections slated for later this year.
(With Inputs from PTI)