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Sonia Gandhi-Mayawati hug steals the limelight at HD Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony

NEW DELHI: As opposition leaders came together in a show of strength during the swearing-in ceremony of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy yesterday, one moment stood out — that of BSP supremo Mayawati and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi hugging each other affectionately.
A photograph of the hug has done the rounds on social media, and on Twitter it received mixed responses. Some hailed it as an iconic image, others were not convinced.
Analysing the chemistry between the two leaders, a Twitter user said that both the leaders look “comfortable” in each other’s company.
In February this year, BSP’s Mayawati and JD(S) Kumaraswamy had decided to contest the assembly elections in Karnataka together, sending strong signals for the possibility of the formation of a third front.

Earlier this week, on Monday, Mayawati held a meeting with the JD(S) leader and discussed the role regional parties could play to stop the BJP from returning to power in the Lok Sabha polls next year.

This was the first time since 1996 that BSP opted for a pre-poll alliance and chose to play second fiddle to the JD(S) in Karnataka, apparently in an apparent bid to strengthen the third front to fight the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which political experts view as Mayawati’s agenda to revive her dwindling fortunes in her home state, where her party was decimated in last year’s assembly elections.

The swearing-in ceremony was organised as a show of opposition unity after Congress extended support to JD(S) to keep BJP, which emerged as the single-largest party, out of power in Karnataka.

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