Ahead of the last phase of polling for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has been on a meeting spree with the prospective Prime Ministerial candidates of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ parties. So far, Naidu has met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, and BSP supremo Mayawati. Interestingly, each one of these leaders secretly harbours the desire to lead the country as the next Prime Minister of India.
Naidu has been visiting leaders of the opposition parties in hope to strengthen an anti-BJP front. The unity of the Mahagathbandhan parties has been dismal so far with each party leader expecting to occupy the Prime Minister’s chair. Each leader of the grand alliance dreams to become the next PM knowing well this desire depends on how their party fares at the elections. The results of the 2019 elections are a few days away, and this is perhaps why Naidu thought it wise to warm up to each one of these leaders in the less likely event of Mahagathbandhan crossing the 272-mark.
The desperation among the opposition ranks to keep the BJP out of power this time, by hook or crook, is evident. Recently the news about 21 opposition parties were planning to write a letter to the President urging him to not call the single largest party to form a government at the centre emerged. The plan, however, was based on the hope that BJP alone won’t be able to conjure up 272 seats to stake a claim at the government.
Naidu has been studiously trying to discredit the credibility of the Election Commission of India by claiming that the EVMs were faulty. Right from the start of the elections, Naidu has been grumbling with the allegations of faulty EVMs, claiming that 30-40% of the EVM machines didn’t function properly in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections. To support his claim, he took a person out on bail for ‘EVM theft’ to the EC office to register his grievances.
Naidu has been non-committal in his choice of PM candidate from the Mahagathbandhan front, as he expressed his disapproval of Stalin’s endorsement of Rahul’s PM candidature. Moreover, Amit Shah has already declared that doors for return to NDA have been forever closed for him. It, therefore, explains why Naidu is scurrying away to the opposition leaders and endeavouring to cobble up a robust anti-BJP front.