LUCKNOW: A day after the last leg of 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the trends predicted by various exit polls, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav got huddled with his alliance partner and BSP supremo Mayawati at her residence here on Monday.
The SP chief, who drove to Mayawati's residence and held over an hour closed-door meeting with her, chose to be silent on what transpired between the two leaders. Akhilesh, while emerging from the meeting refused to talk to media persons saying that he would speak only after May 23. He even refused to express
his opinion on the exit poll trends saying he would break his silence only after the results.
However, later in the day, the SP chief took to Twitter posting his picture of Monday meeting with BSP chief Mayawati at her residence saying: “Ab agle kadam ki tayyari (now preparing for next move).”
Sunday evening exit polls had predicted a second term for Modi government at the Centre and gave varied numbers to the SP-BSP-RLD gathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. While some polls witnessed gathbandhan wresting over 50 seats from the BJP which had won 71 of 80 seats in previous elections in UP, others have kept the alliance figures around 20-30 giving an edge to the saffron party.
SP -BSP alliance was necessitated following their rout of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. While SPhad ended up with just five seats, BSP failed to open an account in UP. The body blow to the two parties, which scoffed it off as an aberration, got consolidated in 2017 Assembly polls when SP came down to just 47 seats from 229 and BSP dwindled from respectable 84 to paltry 19. Congress could get just seven seats in the Assembly.
However, the Monday meeting assumes significance as it came in the backdrop of efforts being made by TOD chief and Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu towards opposition unity.
Naidu had called on the UP leaders separately in Lucknow on Saturday to invite them for the May 21 opposition meeting in Delhi. However, according to a senior SP leader, both alliance partners were not keen on participating in any formal opposition meeting before the result day.
As per the BSP sources, Mayawati had a scheduled meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Monday which the former cancelled after the exit polls and decided to stay put in Lucknow only.
However, Naidu has been maintaining the momentum of talks among opposition leaders.
Even on Monday, he was expected to meet West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee.
Exit poll predictions notwithstanding, the Opposition is planning to launch a pre-emptive strike by submitting a list of parties committed to an alternative government to the President before May 23, when the results will be declared.