Opposition ready with plan to stake claim at govt formation

A.M. Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on May 22, 2019

Congress discusses plan with regional parties in case NDA doesn’t get majority

The exit polls predicted a landslide victory for the BJP-led NDA, but the Opposition leaders are ready with a plan in case the NDA falls short of majority when the results are declared on Thursday. Senior leaders of Opposition camp interacted at several occasions on Wednesday to firm up a clear strategy even as they don’t have two views that the BJP will be the single largest party in the seventeenth Lok Sabha.

Also read: Exit polls predict Modi’s return to power

The parties also understand that precedence allow President Ramnath Kovind to invite the single largest party to form the government. But if the NDA does not have a clear mandate, the 22 Opposition parties will adopt pressure tactic to the President’s decision from being one-sided. The Opposition leaders also discussed a circular issued by the Home Ministry to all States warning them about the “possibility of eruption of violence” in connection with counting of votes on Wednesday.

Senior leaders of the Opposition, with whom BusinessLine spoke, said if the first trends are in their favour, the 22 Opposition parties will send separate letters in their official letter pads to President, stating that they worked for a non-BJP alternative government and each party was part of that effort. The letter, which was drafted on Wednesday and sent to all leaders, will also request that the President looks for combinations other than the NDA. The first letter will seek permission from him to seek the possibilities of forming a “non-NDA” government.

Joint resolution

Accordingly, the top leaders of 22 parties will meet towards late evening on Thursday. Sources indicate that BSP leader Mayawati, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, SP President Akhilesh Yadav and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu will reach here to be part of the discussions. This meeting is likely to pass a joint resolution that will also be sent to the President by 8 pm, as clear results may be available.

This joint resolution will seek time from President to elect a leader. It will also state that the Opposition has the mandate to form the government and will stake claim to form the Government. The meeting will also start discussions on the election of a leader for the post of Prime Minister.

Opposition leaders claimed that the discussions are not limited to 22 Opposition parties. Senior Opposition leader Sharad Pawar has reached out to K Chandrasekhara Rao, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Biju Patnaik, the leaders of the TRS, the YSRCP and the BJD respectively, on the possibilities of forming an “alternative government.”

Sources also indicate that the selection of the leader will be dependent on the numbers the Congress get. Most of the 22 parties prefer a 2004 like scenario, where the single largest party gets the leadership.

In case of a defeat, the Opposition will stick to its demand of counting VVPAT receipts in every Assembly segment where an EVM-VVPAT mismatch is found. The parties may launch countrywide protests demanding this.

Published on May 22, 2019

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