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5th phase over, efforts begin for forming non-BJP, non-Congress alliance

Taking the first step in this regard was K Chandrashekar Rao, who met Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram, ostensibly over "dinner".

IANS|
May 06, 2019, 09.21 PM IST
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K Chandrashekar Rao with Pinarayi Vijayan.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/HYDERABAD: With elections completed in 425 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies on Monday, efforts appear to have begun to cobble up a non-BJP, non-Congress front amid projections that the existing NDA may find it difficult to form the next government.

Taking the first step in this regard was Telangana Chief Minister and TRS leader K Chandrashekar Rao, who met Kerala Chief Minister and CPI-M leader Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram, ostensibly over "dinner".

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, will discuss the latest political developments with Vijayan.

This will be KCR's first meeting with any leader of a non-BJP and non-Congress party since the Lok Sabha elections began on April 11.

Among other leaders on his itinerary is DMK supremo M.K. Stalin, whom he is scheduled to meet in Chennai on May 13, the Telangana Chief Minister's office said in Hyderabad.

"Both the leaders (Rao and Stalin) are likely to discuss the current political scenario in the contest of ongoing parliamentary elections," said the Chief Minister's Office.

On knowing about Rao's visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy had a telephonic talk with him on Monday, the CMO said.

With the Lok Sabha election results to be declared on May 23, KCR is planning meetings with leaders of various other parties to prepare the ground for formation of a non-BJP, non-Congress government, sources said.

The move by Rao assumes significance as he was the one who had mooted the idea of 'Federal Front' in March last year and initiated efforts to provide an alternative to both the BJP and Congress.

He had subsequently met leaders of the Trinamool Congress, Biju Janta Dal, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S) and DMK. He also invited YSR Congress Party to join the proposed front.

The efforts have been initiated by Rao amid projections that the existing BJP-led NDA may find it difficult to muster the majority figure to form the next government.

The BJP too appears to be conscious of the fact that crossing the majority mark would not be easy this time, unlike the last Lok Sabha elections when the party on its own got 282 seats, 10 more than the majority figure.

"If we get 271 seats on our own, we will be very happy," BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been very critical of BJD leader and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during campaigning for elections in that state a few weeks back, was all praise for him for handling the situation arising out of cyclone.

This praise is seen as a political move aimed at potentially roping the BJD into the NDA fold in case the BJP-led coalition fell short of a majority.
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