Mamata, Sonia to discuss joint Oppn nominee on May 16
To help evolve a consensus among Opposition parties on a common candidate for the presidential election, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will reach the Capital on Monday May 15. According to Trinamool Congress (TMC) sources, her visit comes after Congress President Sonia Gandhi invited her to discuss the issue on Tuesday May 16. However, there is some uncertainty over the TMC supremo's visit as Gandhi has been in hospital and is yet to fully recover.
Over the last month, Congress stalwarts also spoke to Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav. Moreover, Sonia Gandhi spoke to Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and senior DMK leader Stalin.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi too is in talks with former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and CIP (M) Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechuri. According to sources, a major lobby of the Keral unit of the Left party will also be in touch with Banerjee regarding the unanimous presidential face of an "United Opposition".
The Opposition parties have a 50 per cent vote share for the election where Congress, TMC, Left and other parties are trying to resolve their differences, which was reported in the last year. While Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) is reportedly tilting towards the BJP, his current political ally and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav is planning a mega-rally at Gandhi Maidan, Patna, on August 27.
Yadav is organising the rally against the Centre and has also personally invited Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and urged them to join it. According to sources in other parties, the BJD and National Conference too have extended their support to the united Opposition's initiative. BJD chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnayak and NC chief Farooq Abdullah have assured that they will support any decision taken by the other Opposition parties.