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Opp leaders step up talks to form govt

 NEW DELHI, May 18 - A day before the last phase of polling, leaders of opposition parties have stepped up efforts to cobble up a coalition for formation of the next government, with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu meeting Congress, CPI, NCP and other leaders here.

 Naidu met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and discussed with him the possibilities of all Opposition parties uniting and forging a an alliance.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also met CPI leader G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja over breakfast, asking them to “come together”.

Naidu also met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and LJD leader Sharad Yadav.

The TDP chief has already held several rounds of discussions with various Opposition leaders, including TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Sources said he is also likely to meet BSP chief Mayawati and SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow in the evening.

“Naidu reportedly told all the leaders that we all should come together and put our act together”, in forming the next government by keeping the BJP out, a source said.

Sources said Naidu also asked Gandhi to have a strategy ready, in case the NDA falls short of the majority mark and still stakes claim to form the government.

Naidu’s TDP had been a part of the NDA, but quit the alliance a few months ago.

On Friday, Naidu had said that not only the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) but any outfit which is against the saffron party are welcome to join a grand alliance after the election results are declared.

Opposition parties are pitching for a joint anti-BJP front to steer the next government.

Hectic deliberations between various Opposition leaders are likely to be stepped up before the Lok Sabha results are announced on May 23.

Amid the efforts to bring all non-NDA parties together, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy urged Congress and his party members not to give controversial statements against each other.

“We are on the verge of formation of a new government at the Centre. At this juncture where all efforts are being made to form a non-BJP government at the Centre, the contradictory statements by leaders of coalition partners may mar such efforts,” he tweeted.

“Hence, my humble request to the leaders of both the parties is to restrain from making contradictory or controversial statements in public and to support the cause,” Kumaraswamy said.

However, former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader HD Devegowda said they are all together with the Congress in forming the next government.

There has been a war of words between the Congress and its alliance partners JD(S) in Karnataka for some time now. – PTI

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