Chandrababu Naidu, Rahul Gandhi talk post-poll pact
It might be recalled that YSRCP has decided to go with the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samiti as a block for any post-poll alliance.
New Delhi: With barely two weeks to go for declaration of Lok Sabha election results, hectic political activity has erupted in southern India following expectations of a fractured mandate. Even as TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday, the Congress is understood to have quietly begun back-channel talks with the YSR Congress Party led by Jagan Mohan Reddy to shore up support in case of a hung Parliament.
On Wednesday, Mr Naidu discussed plans with Mr Gandhi to hold a meeting of Opposition parties on May 21, two days ahead of Lok Sabha results to chalk out a post-poll alliance.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, said, "Anything concrete will only happen after the results. Talking of alliances before that would be abstract."
Congress sources said party leader K.V. Thomas is holding talks with leaders of the YSRCP.
It might be recalled that YSRCP has decided to go with the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) as a block for any post-poll alliance.
Mr Rao or KCR, as he is popularly called, has been talking to chief ministers and leaders of various parties, including Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. However, he was snubbed by the DMK which first confirmed his meeting with party chief M.K. Stalin but later calling it off.
Interestingly, Mr Rao is understood to have told Mr Kumarswamy, who heads a government in alliance with the Congress in Karnataka, to send feelers to the Congress for supporting a federal front or a Third Front dispensation in case the NDA fails to touch the magic figure of 272 on May 23.
While TRS chief is looking at the possibility of heading a Third Front government, the Congress top brass feels that in case the party manages to get 140 seats it has a strong chance of forming the government with its own Prime Minister and it is towards this end that talks with various outfits are being initiated.
Top sources in YSRCP said that though they have got feelers from the Congress, no official talks have taken place yet. Mr Jagan Mohan is on a vacation and is likely to return on May 16 and talks can take place only after that. The YSRCP chief is also likely to meet KCR after that.
When asked about YSRCP's understanding with the TRS, Y.V. Subbareddy of YSRCP, said, "Telangana chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has reaffirmed support for special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Our party will support any party which supports our cause."
"The cause of the two states would be taken up together," he told this newspaper.
Recently, after a meeting with the TRS chief's son, K.T. Rama Rao, Mr Jagan Mohan had said, "If we look at the MP representation of each state, it is not much, which is why even with 25 MPs in AP when we demanded special status, nothing happened. But now with 17 MPs from Telangana joining hands, it will help our case and the Centre cannot ignore it."
Though Mr Subbareddy refused to comment on Congress' overtures, Mr Jagan Mohan had recently said that he has forgotten his old animosity with the Congress.
Sources told this newspaper that the alliance committee of the Congress, led by former defence minister A.K. Antony, was exploring possible new allies for a post-election situation with a hung House.
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