A top Opposition leader said that if the numbers are favourable then a leader of the 22-party grouping would also be decided by Thursday night.
New Delhi: Undeterred by exit polls which predicted a BJP sweep in the Lok Sabha polls, Opposition parties have quietly firmed up plans to stake claim in case the BJP falls short of a majority after counting of votes on Thursday. The Opposition parties, including the Congress, have prepared two sets of letters to be presented to President Ram Nath Kovind before the verdict day ends.
Sources said that the letters would be used only if trends by mid-afternoon show that the BJP is falling short of the majority mark. A top Opposition leader said that if the numbers are favourable then a leader of the 22-party grouping would also be decided by Thursday night.
While the first letter would be sent by the parties individually on their letter heads, the second letter would be a joint resolution staking claim and would be sent later on behalf of the 22-party conglomerate after chiefs all the parties arrive in Delhi.
The draft of the first letter has already been prepared and sent to all the 22 parties. The brief letter, according to sources, says that these parties have fought to defeat the BJP and bring in an alternative government and the President should consider them as a single block while deciding whom to call for government formation.
Apart from the existing UPA, which includes the DMK, the RJD and the NCP, and parties like the TDP and the Left, the TMC and the SP-BSP which have already aligned with the Opposition and together went to the Election Commission on Tuesday, the letter has also been sent to the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K. Chadrasekar Rao and YSRCP’s Jagan Mohan Reddy.
This first letter would be sent around 3.30 pm after the trends are clear and only if the BJP is seen to be falling short of a simple majority.
Around this time, top leaders, including Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, BSP chief Mayawati, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu would start arriving in the national capital and begin talks, sources said.
When a clear picture emerges on the exact numbers and if the BJP falls short of a majority then the second letter, which is more of a resolution staking claim, would be signed by all party chiefs sent to the President.
Leaders of the Opposition conglomerate including Congress’ Ahmed Patel, NCP’s Praful Patel, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and TDP’s Rammohan Rao met in Delhi to finalise the drafts of the letters. The meeting was also attended by Mr Pawar and Mr Naidu via video conferencing.
The draft of the second letter or the resolution was sent to Mr Pawar for approval since he has been coordinating with most regional parties including Mr Patnaik and the TRS chief.
Sources told this newspaper that Mr Chandrasekar Rao’s role was discussed during the meeting on VVPATs on Tuesday and he might be offered the position of deputy Prime Minister if there is any scope of government formation by the non-BJP Opposition front.