The Opposition has pinned its hopes on the SP-BSP-Congress-Rashtriya Lok Dal tie-up in U.P. to cut into a major chunk of the BJP’s Lok Sabha tally.
The Bahujan Samaj Party is keeping the Opposition guessing on whether it will be part of the December 10 meeting of the Opposition parties.
Their prospective ally in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Samajwadi Party has confirmed its participation.
The Opposition meeting, another step towards building an anti-BJP platform, is scheduled a day ahead of the results of the crucial Assembly elections in five States. It is expected to firm up poll tactics.
“There is no word yet from the BSP on whether Mayawati ji will come herself or she will depute Satish Chandra Misra to represent her. We will reach out to them and hope for the best,” a senior Congress leader said.
The meeting is scheduled for 3.30 p.m. at Parliament House Annexe. Mr. Misra did not respond to questions from The Hindu on his party’s participation.
The Opposition leaders maintain that the absence of the BSP will not have any impact on the crucial mahagatbandhan (grand alliance) in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha polls. The Opposition has pinned its hopes on the SP-BSP-Congress and Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal in the State to cut into a major chunk of the BJP’s Lok Sabha tally. The ruling party got 73 seats from the State in the 2014 general elections.
“The BSP does not want to be seen on an Opposition platform till the seat sharing arrangement in Uttar Pradesh is finalised and it gets its fair share. But it does give us reason to doubt its commitment to an alliance in the State,” a senior Opposition leader said.
Dravida Munnetra Kazagham’s M.K. Stalin, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav, Telugu Desam Party’s Chandrababu Naidu, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, JD (S) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, National Conference chairman Farooq Abdullah CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, among others, are expected to take part in the meeting. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too is expected to join the meeting.
The meeting was first scheduled for November 22 and announced by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. However, it had to be postponed, since the Samajwadi Party patriarch’s birthday celebrations fell on the same day.
The Opposition parties are expected to discuss their strategy within Parliament and outside at the December 10 meeting, besides the two-day all-India strike called by trade unions in January, and the alleged misuse of investigating agencies by the ruling BJP government.
More recently there has been a spate of raids by the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department against many Telugu Desam Party leaders in Andhra Pradesh.
Both Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan have called a meeting of the floor leaders on the same day.