As hectic parleys abound in the Opposition camp post predictions of a sweeping victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA in the Lok Sabha elections, YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy appears to be keeping cards close to his chest.
It is learnt that Reddy, who is pitched to make a dent in Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s dreams of playing kingmaker, is keeping all his options open till May 23, counting day. Efforts were made by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to contact Reddy on behalf of the UPA but he reportedly could not be reached.
A YSRCP leader confirmed that Pawar was trying to talk to Reddy but he was waiting for results to take a final call, the Deccan Chronicle reported.
The development comes after a majority of exit polls predicted that Reddy’s party will get the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats and can play a bigger role in case the results throw up a hung Parliament.
The News18-IPSOS exit poll survey has predicted that the YSRCP will be able to win 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state, eclipsing the TDP tally of 11 seats. The Republic-C Voter survey has predicted a win for TDP with 14 Lok Sabha seats followed by YSRCP with 11 Lok Sabha seats and zero seats for NDA and UPA, while the India Today Axis poll has given TDP Lok Sabha 4-6 seats and YSRCP Lok Sabha 18-20 seats.
In light of the results, Pawar’s call shows that the Congress is keen to maintain cordial relations with Naidu as well as keep doors open for his arch rival Reddy.
With Naidu firmly in the UPA saddle and spearheading efforts to cobble together the Opposition alliance, the BJP had also begun courting Reddy. The Special Category Status (SCS) reportedly topped Jagan’s charter of demands, with ministries for the YSRCP coming next. Despite an unsaid understanding with the regional parties, the Congress and the BJP contested on their own, but both the national parties looked more or less like ringside spectators of the Naidu-versus-Jagan fight.