Mamata not keen, but Oppn plan early move to form Govt 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI file photo

The Trinamool Congress is not yet keen to join the other opposition parties in making an early move to stop the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party from getting an advantage in the rush to form the next government after the poll results come out on May 23.

The Congress, Telugu Desam Party and several other opposition parties are contemplating to send a joint delegation of its leaders to meet President Ram Nath Kovind in a show of unity even before the votes are counted – ostensibly to stop the ruling BJP, which may emerge as the single largest party, to form the next  government at the Centre. 

Trinamool Congress, which is in power in West Bengal, is not yet ready to jump on the bandwagon though. Sources in the party told the DH that it was not keen to join any such move without knowing the number of the Lok Sabha seats it would have in its kitty. 

The current Lok Sabha elections saw the BJP emerging as the principal challenger to the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. The party led by the state's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however, did put up a fight to resist the BJP's bid to expand its footprint in the Eastern State. With five of the seven phases of polling already over, the Trinamool Congress leaders now believe that party would be able to largely hold on to its bastion and might not lose much of its seats to the BJP. 

A senior Trinamool Congress leader said that the proposal mooted by other opposition parties to write to President and send a delegation to Rashtrapati Bhavan appeared to be a move by the Congress to position itself in the lead role in efforts to form the next Government. “We cannot commit our support to any such move before we know how many seats we have in out kitty and where we stand politically,” said a senior leader of Mamata Banerjee's party. 

N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and supremo of the Telugu Desam Party, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi just before flying to Kolkata on Wednesday. 

Naidu, who is trying to bring Trinamool Congress on board, is understood to be carrying a message from Gandhi to Banerjee. 

Banerjee had joined the other political leaders ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to explore the possibility of bringing all the opposition parties to take on the BJP. Her aides had made no bones about her own ambition to lead the new government at the Centre.  

With two more phases of polling for the Lok Sabha elections yet to go, the Trinamool Congress supremo is not yet ready to give up her own claim and start supporting the Congress' bid to project Rahul Gandhi as the prospective leader of the alliance that the non-BJP parties were trying to cobble together to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi from heading yet another BJP-led Government at the Centre.

Naidu and senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma are learnt to be in touch with leaders of other opposition parties to explore the possibility of holding a meeting in New Delhi on May 21 – two days after the last day of polling and two days before the counting of votes. 

Sources, however, said that Banerjee was still not ready to come to New Delhi to attend the proposed meeting personally or send a representative of the Trinamool Congress. 

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