The Telegraph
Saturday , May 20 , 2017

Lalu rally clue to Maya rethink

New Delhi, May 19: Mayawati has for the first time agreed to participate in a joint Opposition event, accepting Lalu Prasad's invitation to an August 27 rally in Patna, an RJD leader said.

The BSP leader's decision is being seen as a signal of flexibility on the question of joining the anti-BJP front being planned ahead of the 2019 general election.

"It (the rally) is going to be a turning point in Opposition politics. Most leaders have indicated their willingness to attend it," the RJD leader said. "Rahul Gandhi will be present. Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, H.D. Deve Gowda, Stalin - all will be there."

While most of these leaders have participated in Opposition rallies in the past too, Mayawati has consistently kept aloof, preferring to go solo in parliamentary elections.

"I'm an astrologer too. I'm predicting Akhilesh and Mayawati will come together in the 2019 election and finish off the BJP in Uttar Pradesh," Lalu Prasad today told Shikhar Sammelan, a day-long programme organised by ABP News, owned by the publishers of The Telegraph

After the BJP's victory in the February-March Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Lalu Prasad had taken the initiative to tell Mayawati that all the secular parties should come together.

Mayawati has been passing through a miserable phase. Her party failed to win a single seat in the 2014 general election; she was routed in the recent state polls; and she lacks the numbers to retain her own Rajya Sabha seat when her term expires in April next year.

Lalu Prasad will have the opportunity to send at least three members to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar next year and may leverage this advantage to influence Mayawati.

Asked whether Mayawati had decided to join the proposed Opposition front, one of her associates said: "It's too early to say.... But she has publicly indicated that the party is not averse to being part of a coalition to fight the communal forces."

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