In what seems to be a renewed attempt by the Congress to bring all the anti-BJP parties under one roof to keep the saffron party out of power, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has called for a meeting of leaders of non-NDA parties on May 23 – the day when votes in the Lok Sabha polls will be counted.
According to news agency ANI, Sonia – expecting that the BJP will fall short of majority – has invited leaders of secular parties including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK president M K Stalin, RJD and Trinamool Congress for the meeting.
Reportedly, invite has also been extended to Jagan Reddy of the YSR Congress and K Chandrashekar Rao of the TRS, apart from Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.
However, the attendance of Mayawati, Akhilesh and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is suspicious owing to the failed attempts to forge alliances in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
ANI quoted sources saying that the Congress has appointed four leaders – Ahmed Patel, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ashok Gehlot – to working on ways to forge a post-poll coalition of like-minded parties.
Sources said that the Congress is confident that the BJP will not get majority and that it why it has speeded its attempts to form a front that can outdo the BJP in case of a hung Parliament.
They further added that Ghulam Nabi Azad has already stated that the Congress is not keen on the prime ministerial post so that it doesn’t become the bone of contention as has been the case in earlier failed attempts to form the ‘mahagathbandhan’.
On Wednesday night, Azad said the Congress would not "make an issue" if the PM's post "is not offered to us" -- a statement which was seen as a climbdown by the party in its attempts to regain its lost ground.