As President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is set to end this July, all the political heavyweights have started flexing their muscles to place their man in the seat of de jure power as head of the nation. Congress, Samajwadi Party, and National Conference leaders are reportedly holding meets with each other in the light of the impending elections. Though Bharatiya Janata Party has an edge this time, thanks to its recent victories in state elections, and 282 a mammoth majority in Lok Sabha, it may face a serious contest if opposition parties gets united. To prevent the BJP from running away with the election, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has been out of the political scene for quite some time now, has been holding meetings with various political leaders and today met National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, ANI quoting sources reported. Citing sources, the news agency said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also spoke to Akhilesh Yadav, while Sonia spoke to Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Yadav. Sonia and Rahul may soon meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the agency said.
The parties are trying their best to forge an alliance of like-minded groups to oppose the BJP pick. Last week, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Sonia had held a discussion for putting up a joint opposition candidate. “Pawar ji met Sonia Gandhi. We are working towards a grand alliance for the presidential election. The talks are going on not only for a grand alliance for presidential elections but also for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls,” NCP leader Tariq Anwar told IANS. So far, Sonia has held meetings with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja on the same issue. As the election is near, the idea of a united opposition will face a litmus test in the election which need to be held before July 25, the day when President Pranab Mukherjee’s term expires.