New Delhi: The assembly election results in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have brought together Mayawati and the Congress, but the leader from Uttar Pradesh will not be attending any of the oath ceremonies taking place in the Hindi heartland tomorrow. The ceremonies – first in Jaipur, followed by Bhopal and Raipur – are seen as occasions for an informal opposition get-together, the kind seen first at the oath of HD Kumaraswamy in Karnataka.
There will be two other absentees – Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati’s ally in Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav. While the Bengal Chief Minister has conveyed that she would not be able to attend due to a family emergency and dispatched a representative, neither of the two Uttar Pradesh leaders have cited any reason for their absence.
Mayawati had stepped in last week when the Congress fell a couple of seats short of majority in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath had been the one to approach Mayawati, who, deeply offended by the disagreement over seat sharing in the three states, had ruled out an alliance with the Congress.
The rest of the key opposition leaders – including Chandrababu Naidu , Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar and Stalin are expected to attend tomorrow’s ceremonies. The Congress has also invited Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party – as part of the efforts to mend fences.
Sources have said Mamata Banerjee — who has been cool about the Congress since Rahul Gandhi took over the party — is considering forming a conglomeration of regional parties to bargain with the grand old party. Many of tomorrow’s invitees – including Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, Arvind Kejriwal, Uttar Pradesh leaders Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav are interested in signing up, sources said.
Ms Banerjee has been vocal about more power and prominence to the regional parties in any pan-India coalition. Both the BJP and the Congress, she said, should give regional powers more respect, she has said.
The first informal opposition get-together happened at the oath ceremony of HD KUmaraswamy in May. The leader of Janata Dal Secular had been able to bring diverse parties who were not on the best of terms with others on the same stage, from where talks for a united opposition took off. Last week, 21 opposition parties met in Delhi to give shape to such a front. But Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav had skipped that meet too.