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Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2019

Mayawati for PM?

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mayawati-soniaNEW DELHI : Exit polls suggest Prime Minister Narendra Modi will win a landslide victory when votes are counted on Thursday. But if the polls are wrong, he may need outside help to form government.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh politician Mayawati is believed to have conveyed her desire to be Prime Minister to one of the southern leaders who met her recently.Sources say Mayawati has clearly told the politician that her party’s support would go to “whoever supports me for Prime Minister”.
For the opposition, that telegraphs the possibility that Mayawati, one of the opposition’s leading players, could swing both ways, depending on who is willing to give her the top job. Mayawati’s reported condition reflects the challenges that non-BJP parties will face in attempts to consolidate and stitch up a majority if that occasion arises.
Mayawati, who tied up with old rival Samajwadi Party against the BJP in this election, has not been subtle about her ambitions. Earlier this month, she told her workers that she “may have to” contest the Lok Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar “if all goes well”. That was read as a signal that she wants the top job.
“If all goes well, I may have to seek election from here because the road to national politics passes through Ambedkar Nagar,” she said, addressing a public rally against a giant cutout of herself in front of the parliament building, captioned “Prime Minister”.
In March, the BSP chief had given a similar hint while explaining to her party workers that they should not lose heart at her decision not to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
She said if required, she would contest later from any seat held by her party. “When I became UP Chief Minister the first time in 1995 I was not a member of either the UP Assembly or Council. Similarly there is a provision at the Centre where a person have to be a parliament member within 6 months of holding office of minister/PM.
Mayawati’s bitter rival turned ally, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, has indicated more than once that he would back “behenji (as Mayawati is popularly known)” for Prime Minister.
Here’s a list of kingmakers — regional political leaders with clout across various Indian states — who may decide whether the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party or their biggest political rival, Rahul Gandhi’s Indian National Congress, can reach the 272 seats needed for a majority.
The mild-mannered Naveen Patnaik, supremo of the Biju Janata Dal in the eastern state of Odisha, could well be one of the key men to be wooed by both Modi and Gandhi. With 3.5 percent or 18 members of Parliament, the Biju Janata Dal was the fifth-largest parliamentary party during Modi’s first term. This time, widely-varying exit polls predict Patnaik will win between two and 15 seats. and even praised his handling of cyclone Fani earlier this month. Odisha sends a total 21 members to the lower house.

The 63-year-old leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which represents Dalits or lower castes who make up about one fifth of India’s population, joined with Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal to form an anti-BJP front in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati, who publicly clashed with BJP leaders over religious remarks during campaigning is expected to support an anti-Modi front.

But post-exit polls, she declined to join a meeting of opposition leaders on May 20. Her alliance with Samajwadi party was widely expected to sweep India’s biggest state. Yet, exit polls suggest the opposite, giving the BSP-Samajwadi alliance between 20 and 45 seats of the 80 parliamentary seats from Uttar Pradesh.

Chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal, which sends 42 members to the lower house, Mamata Banerjee could be one of the deciders for a non-BJP government in New Delhi. Her Trinamool Congress Party, formed after moving out of Gandhi’s Indian National Congress in 1998, has been the strongest regional rival for Modi’s BJP over the last six weeks. Bengal elected 33 TMC members to the 16th Lok Sabha, making it the fourth-largest parliamentary party.
Exit polls, which she dismissed as “gossip” suggest her tally could fall to between 24-29. Modi’s biggest parliamentary rival after the Congress, Banerjee has been one of the most serious roadblocks to the BJP expanding its electoral presence in eastern India.
(With Inputs from UP).

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