India opposition leaders to meet over new govt formation | The Daily Star
02:01 PM, May 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:17 PM, May 21, 2019

India opposition leaders to meet over new govt formation

Stepping up their activities ahead of counting of votes in parliamentary elections on Thursday, top Indian opposition leaders will meet later today to discuss the possibility of a staking claim to form the new government formation in the event of the BJP-led combine failing to get majority.

The 21 opposition parties also approach the Election Commission to press for their demand of tallying paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with EVM figures, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

Leaders of parties like the Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Left parties, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party and Trinamool Congress will meet informally to discuss the way forward in case the NDA fails to get to the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the New Delhi correspondent reports.

Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress, Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), TDP's Chandrababu Naidu, Satish Chandra Misra of the BSP, Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), D Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress are expected to be present in today’s meeting. . 

Notwithstanding exit polls forecast a majority for the BJP-led NDA, the opposition parties are going ahead with a plan for an alternative government after rejecting pollsters forecast. 

As part of his efforts to unite the opposition, Chandrababu Naidu met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata yesterday on forming a non-BJP government at the Centre in case of a fractured mandate in the poll. 

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also telephoned Mamata on Monday and discussed the strategy of the opposition alliance.

Naidu has been shuttling between Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow holding several rounds of discussions with Congress, Trinamool Congress, SP, BSP, NCP, CPI(M) leaders.

On Sunday, Naidu met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi separately in New Delhi, besides NCP supremo Pawar. On the same day, he also met Akhilesh and Mayawati.

However, in view of the exit polls, the opposition has turned a bit cautious and decided not to hold any formal meetings.

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 first ahead of the BJP and its allies.

Opposition sources said they did not want to leave anything to chance and did not wish to waste any time in staking claim for government formation.

Opposition parties will also be meeting the Election Commission and demand tallying of VVPAT slips with EVM figures in an entire assembly constituency, which is part of a parliamentary constituency, in case a discrepancy is found in any polling booth.

The Supreme Court has asked the EC to tally the VVPAT slips with the EVM figures of five polling stations in each Assembly constituency across the country, which may delay the declaration of official results of vote-count.

In a releated development, the apex court today dismissed a PIL seeking 100 per cent matching of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during counting of votes on May 23.


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