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Allies find lost love

Within hours of the final phase of polling winding up, the UPA partners had rediscovered the love they had lost for each other. Saroj Nagi reports.

india Updated: May 14, 2009 23:16 IST
Saroj Nagi

Within hours of the final phase of polling winding up, the UPA partners had rediscovered the love they had lost for each other.

The result just two days away and the fears of a hung House confirmed by every exit poll, estranged partners are reconciling.

On Wednesday night, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar drove up to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence at 10, Janpath to discuss the post-poll situation.

A day later, Sonia called up Union ministers Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan, who had formed the fourth front with Mulayam Singh Yadav and took on the Congress in Bihar.

Though Sonia is yet to call Yadav, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh spoke to his Samajwadi counterpart Amar Singh to enquire about his health and urge him to let bygones be bygones — a sentiment the UP leader reciprocated. The two Rajput leaders, who have been at loggerheads, also apologised to each other.

“Everyone is talking to everyone… but it will gain momentum after May 16 when we know exactly how much support we need,” said a Congress leader, even as Sonia conferred with her colleagues, including Kamal Nath and S.S. Vaghela.

The Congress president has already met DMK’s M. Karunanidhi when they addressed a joint rally in Chennai earlier this week. JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy visited Sonia a shortly afterwards.

The Congress' three-pronged strategy for the post-poll tie-ups is: first consolidate on the UPA's existing allies. Second, woo secular parties to either join the government or lend outside support to the Congress. Lastly, encourage the reluctant parties to stay neutral so that the UPA government — even if it’s a minority government — can survive.

Congressmen playing a key role in helping Sonia get broker deals with allies are Pranab Mukherjee (for parleys with the Left), Ahmad Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad (reportedly for Tamil Nadu parties) and Kamal Nath (for BJD’s Naveen Patnaik).