Exit polls have DMK, BJD rethink strategy

Post exit polls, both Stalin and Patnaik show inclination towards NDA.

Hyderabad: Following the predictions by exit polls which are highly favourable to the BJP-led NDA, some regional parties are changing their stand.
In Tamil Nadu, DMK chief M.K. Stalin said that his party will decide who to support at the Centre only after May 23 when the actual results are out.
In Odisha, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal also changed its mind and announced that it would support any party or alliance that forms the government at the Centre.

And Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who was supposed to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, cancelled her Delhi visit on Monday. In another possible fallout of the exit polls, the proposed meeting of Opposition parties convened by Ms Gandhi on May 23 is likely to be postponed.
All these days the DMK has maintained that it will not leave the Congress alliance. When TS Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao met Mr Stalin and requested support for the Federal Front, he said the same thing.

But surprisingly, on Monday, a day after the exit polls were out, Mr Stalin changed his tone and tune. The other day DMK leaders were announced that they will attend the Opposition parties meeting proposed on May 23. Talking about exit polls on Monday, Mr Stalin said that even as the exit polls predicted a good show by his party, he does not take the projections seriously and would wait for three days to know the people’s mandate.

When asked if the DMK would be a part of the next Cabinet formed by whichever party, Mr Stalin said that he will respond to this only after the conclusion of counting on May 23. He did not say that his party will go with the Congress only but kept his options open. When asked about the Opposition parties’ meeting, Mr Stalin said, “Who told you there is a meeting on May 23?”

He said such meetings will be useful only if held after results are known. In fact, Sonia Gandhi proposed to hold the meeting on May 23 evening by which time the LS results would be known.

Meanwhile, in Odisha, BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has so far maintained an equal distance between the BJP and the Congress. In the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections, the BJD contested alone. But surprisingly, on Monday, the BJD hinted at supporting the BJP-led NDA.

BJD’s senior leader Amar Patnaik said, “We would probably support some party or some kind of combination whoever forms the government at the Centre.” With exit polls favouring the BJP, it seems like the BJD is not averse to hooking up with the NDA alliance.

After discussions with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the BSP chief Mayawati had decided to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Monday.

But the exit polls have made her change her mind. The Congress high command is also thinking of postponing the proposed Opposition parties meeting scheduled for May 23. UPA allies have suggested that it will be better to meet after the results are out. The meeting may take place on May 24 or 25.

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