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Sonia Gandhi Invites Regional Party Leaders To Delhi, Which Way Will Naveen Patnaik Swing?


15 May 2019

Debasish Moharana


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Bhubaneswar: With less than two weeks for the Lok Sabha election results, all national and regional parties are busy with their moves to forge alliances before the D-Day. Congress is in touch with all regional parties to get their support, in case the UPA fails to reach the magic figure.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi has personally invited TDP, TRS, YSRCP and BJD for a meeting that will be chaired by her on May 23 at Delhi. Sources said, Sonia is willing to ink an alliance with them following which she wouldl be able to keep BJP out of power at the Centre.

If the strategy works well, the UPA along with other regional parties can sum up to a formidable number in the Lok Sabha. Sonia's personal invitation to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik holds significance as his party, the BJD, is expected to play a determining role in the number game.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have personally spoken to his friend Naveen, requesting him to attend the May 23 meeting. Both the leaders know each other personally.

Modi's recent meeting with Naveen, after both of them conducted the aerial survey of the cyclone-affected regions of Odisha, has given rise to speculations that the BJP is sending signals to the BJD in case there is a case of an alliance after the results. Sonia’s outreach to the Odisha Chief Minister, therefore, holds a lot of significance.

Senior Odisha Congress leaders, Suresh Routray said, "It is a masterstroke by our vice-president Sonia Gandhi to convene a meeting between UPA and its potential allies. Her step is aimed at safeguarding the democracy of the country. Which way the BJD will go, is entirely on the party chief Naveen Patnaik,

The meeting, which has been called on the day when the Lok Sabha election results are to be announced, holds significance as sources point out that the message sent out by Sonia is that all UPA and non-NDA parties need to rally together after the verdict.

There is no point in getting too enshusiastic about the invitation since this is the election season, said BJD leader Pratap Keshari Deb. "We all need to wait for the results. In an election season, parties talk to one another, it is quite natural. Our president has already said that no national party will get majority and the regional parties would claim a major stake in Government building at the centre," Deb added.

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Pratap Deb, BJD Leader

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Suresh Kumar Routray, Congress Leader

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Prithviraj Harichandan, BJP Leader