New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee is hell-bent on denying PM Modi a second chance. She is even ready to bend backwards and accept Rahul Gandhi as the next Prime Minister, sources in the party indicated on Tuesday. Both Mamata and Rahul Gandhi had shown no inclination to hammer a pre-poll tie-up at the state level. During the poll campaign, too, the two sides had made strong comments against each other.
But all this may change now. Not just Mamata, even Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has softened up and is veering round to the view that there can be an understanding of sorts with the Congress.
KCR was perceived to be close to the BJP but the animosity to Modi down South leaves him with little room to manoeuvre.
In this backdrop, NDTV cited Trinamool sources as saying, “Regional parties are inching closer on an understanding to oust Modi. Mamata is playing a key role, keeping back channels buzzing”.
Another person on radar is Mayawati; her shrill statement on PM Modi’s spouse seems to suggest that she may not be keen on having any truck with a coalition headed by Modi either. Stalin has already indicated that he is leaning towards the Congress. Others on the radar are Jaganmohan Reddy, the leader of the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
The fence sitters are expected to lay their cards on the table when the final results are out on May 23. Among the opposition leaders, only Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik “is the odd one out, and is likely to stay truly equidistant (from the BJP and the Congress),” sources told NDTV.
“Naveen has a five-year term and is in no rush to go to Delhi,” the sources added. As against this, the BJP will have to hope that the NDA as a whole fares well; diminished numbers of its major allies – Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and Nitish Kumar – could upset the best laid plans of Amit Shah and PM Modi.