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BJP's Grand Dinner, Oppn's EC Meet: As Exit Polls Create Turbulence, Top Leaders Charge Up for D-Day

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to host a dinner for all top NDA leaders, the opposition leaders will meet in the national capital to discuss possibilities to stake claim for government formation on May 23.


Updated:May 21, 2019, 10:46 PM IST
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New Delhi: The exit poll forecast has led to hectic parleys in political circles with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu taking the lead in huddling up an anti-BJP front as pollsters predict comfortable majority for the National Democratic Alliance. With just two days left for the counting day, the top leaders are up for a busy Tuesday to devise post-result schemes.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to host a dinner for all top NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, the opposition leaders will meet in the national capital to discuss the political situation and possibilities to stake claim for government formation.

The leaders of the opposition parties will also meet the Election Commission (EC) and raise the issue of tallying paper trail of votes (VVPATs) with electronic voting machine (EVM) figures as per Supreme Court directions. The Congress is expected to be represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Ahmed Patel, while Sanjay Singh will join on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party, D Raja from CPI, Sitaram Yechury from CPM, Satish Mishra from BSP, Naidu from TDP, Derek O'Brien from TMC and TKS Elangovan from DMK.

The opposition parties are demanding tallying of VVPAT slips with EVM figures in an entire Assembly constituency in case a discrepancy is found in any polling booth. The court has asked the EC to tally the VVPAT slips with the EVM figures of five polling stations in each Assembly constituency across the country, which may delay the results.

Meanwhile, the NDA dinner party will include Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Lok Janshakti Party head Ram Vilas Paswan. A meeting of key BJP leaders, including Union Ministers, is also scheduled to be held in the party headquarters before the dinner meeting with allies.

The BJP's decision to host the dinner comes following the exit polls which have been unanimous in projecting another term for Modi. Exit polls telecast by almost all major new channels have forecast that the BJP-led NDA will cross the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

Notwithstanding the exit poll predictions, the opposition is going ahead with its strategy as most parties have trashed the forecast and claimed that the NDA would not get a majority in the Lok Sabha. Opposition leaders are citing previous examples when exit polls were proved wrong, as also elsewhere in the world like the surprise result in Australia.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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