New Delhi: Gathbandhan partners Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav could be the most prominent faces of Sonia Gandhi’s much talked- about May 23 meeting.
Neutral players Naveen Patnaik and K Chandrashekhar Rao are also being approached.
In a bid to muster the support of old friends and lead the opposition front, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has sent letters to all key players, including former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, for the May 23 meeting, the day results of the Lok Sabha elections are to be announced.
Letters have also been shot off to key allies, DMK and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for working out instant strategies to stake claim for forming the government at the Centre, in case the NDA, led by incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi falls short of the majority mark.
Among those who have confirmed their participation at the meeting are NCP’s Sharad Pawar and M.K. Stalin of the DMK.
Sonia Gandhi had almost taken the back seat after Rahul Gandhi was elected President of the Congress. However, as the election results draw closer, she returns to take the leadership role to forge a grand opposition alliance which had unfortunately failed last year.
Besides neutral players such as Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and K. Chandrashekhar Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Sonia Gandhi is eyeing the support of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav who are expected to secure big numbers if the caste chemistry of votes succeeds in the cow belt.
Party sources said that Sonia Gandhi has stepped into alliance building efforts even before the results are out. She has reportedly been in touch with both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav and also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Gathbandhan partners Akhilesh-Mayawati most prominent faces of Sonia Gandhi’s meeting
Despite remaining out of the pre-poll alliance (gathbandhan) in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leaders have been in constant touch with the BSP and SP leadership.
During the poll campaign in UP, Rahul Gandhi chose to remain silent on Mayawati and Akhilesh while launching an open attack on the BJP and RSS.
In several seats in the state, the Congress fielded candidates from the upper castes to cut into the vote bank of the saffron party. In return, the gathbandhan did not contest Rae Bareli and Amethi, the traditional seats held by the Gandhi family. Now Sonia Gandhi’s latest communique to Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav makes it evident that the gathbandhan leaders are also keen to join the UPA to consolidate opposition fraternity.
Speaking to media persons, the national spokesperson of Samajwadi Party, I.P. Singh said the gathbandhan would be the ultimate winner in Uttar Pradesh and would secure at least 60 seats making the SP-BSP alliance the biggest challenger to the BJP. “Akhileshji has the highest regard for Soniaji and our party will certainly play an important role in government formation after May 23,” said Singh.
In its latest internal poll survey, SP has been expecting around 26 seats (out of 37 being contested), though it appears to be an elevated number in the wake of Prime Minister Modi’s marathon rallies in the state after the second phase.
Sources said in the proposed meeting Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati would be the prominent faces besides Sharad Pawar, N. Chandrababu Naidu and M.K.
Stalin who are certain to be present. Sources said Congress leaders, particularly Ahmed Patel, are also reaching out to Naveen Patnaik and K Chandrashekhar Rao. Efforts are also being made to approach YSRCP’s Jaganmohan Reddy.
Ayodhya LIVE: SC orders allotment of alternative land to Muslims for mosque
The Supreme Court on Saturday pronounced its verdict in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, includes Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.
The Ayodhya dispute, India’s longest-running historical, political and socio-religious debate, culminated on Saturday when the country’s Supreme Court ruled on the title suit of the 2.77 acre land in this Uttar Pradesh town that is claimed both by Hindus and Muslims.
There was unprecedented security in Uttar Pradesh as well as other parts of India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the judgement would not be anyone’s ‘victory or defeat’ but ‘would give strength to India’s tradition of peace, unity and amity’.
Here are highlights from the verdict:
* Sharp at 10.30 am, the 5-judge bench assembled to read out the verdict.
* The bench dismissed the appeal of the Shia Waqf Board, pronouncing an unanimous verdict in the case. Shia Waqf board’s claim was over the disputed structure. Court says the land is held by the government, according to revenue records.
* SC said the disputed land was government land in revenue records.
* SC referred to the content of the lawsuit of devotee Gopal Singh Visharad — the first to approach court in 1950 — seeking right to worship at the site.
* Top court held that Nirmohi Akhara’s suit is barred by limitation, not a shebait or devotee of deity Ram Lalla.
* SC lent credence to the archeological evidence on the disputed site.
* SC said that terming the archeological evidence as merely an opinion would be a great disservice to the Archeological Society of India.
* The Apex court said the Babri mosque was not built on vacant land. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure.
* Court said the fact that there lied a temple beneath the destroyed structure has been established by the ASI.
* ASI had not established whether temple was demolished to build the mosque.
* Hindus consider this place as birthplace of lord Ram, even Muslims say this about disputed place: SC
* Faith of Hindus that Lord Rama was born at demolished structure is undisputed: SC
* The existence of Sita Rasoi, Ram Chabutra and Bhandar grih are the testimony of the religious fact of the place: SC
* Title cannot be established on ground of faith, belief; they are kind of indicator for deciding dispute: SC
* Evidence suggests Hindus were in possession of outer court yard, says SC
* Extensive nature of Hindus worshipping at outer courtyard at site has been there: SC
* Evidence suggest Muslims offered Friday prayers at mosque which indicates they have not lost possession: SC
* Despite obstruction caused in offering prayers at mosque, evidence suggest that there was no abandonment: SC
* Iron railing was set up at site in 1856-1857, it suggests Hindus kept worshipping at the site: SC
* Muslims have not adduced evidence they were in exclusive possession of dispute site: SC
* Muslims were not in possession of outer courtyard of the site: SC
* UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has failed to establish its case in Ayodhya dispute: SC
* On the contrary, Hindus established their case that they were in possession of outer courtyard: SC
* SC directs allotment of alternative land — of 5 acres — to Muslims to build new mosque.
* Damage to Babri mosque was violation of law: SC
* SC asks Centre to frame scheme within 3 months and set up a trust for construction of a temple.
* SC dismisses plea of Nirmohi Akhara seeking control of entire disputed land.
* Possession of disputed 2.77 acre land will remain with central government receiver for the temple: SC
* Centre, UP govt can monitor together future actions by authorities: SC
* SC grants entire 2.77 acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla.
* SC directs Centre and UP govt to allot 5 acre land to the Muslims at a prominent place for building mosque.
* SC asks Centre to consider granting some kind of representation to Nirmohi Akhara in setting up of trust.