Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday expressed confidence that "political compulsions" will bring together all non-BJP parties to fight the NDA in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Naidu, who met several Opposition leaders in New Delhi in a run-up to forming a formidable front against the BJP in the upcoming general elections, said that he will play the role of a "facilitator" in helping evolve a credible alternative.
"It is only (because of) political compulsion and in the overall interest of the nation that parties will join together. Some may not join before elections, some of them may join after elections," he told reporters in Delhi.
Some political parties are "afraid" to join today because of the pressure from the BJP, he said, adding he may even have to meet some leaders because of "democratic compulsions". Asserting that someone will act as a catalyst to form an alternative front, Naidu said that already leaders like TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal are making efforts towards that direction.
"Had a good meeting with Sh Chandrababu Naidu ji (sic). Sh Sharad Yadav ji was also present for a while. Discussed national issues. Present BJP govt is a threat to the nation n to the Constitution. People across India will need to join hands to save India and the Constitution," Kejriwal tweeted after meeting Naidu at the Andhra Bhawan in Delhi.
Naidu also met former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday evening along with Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu and some TDP MPs.
Mayawati's stand against the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh is being seen as a setback to form an opposition alliance against the BJP.
Recently, Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan, who is trying to build support of "neglected communities" in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, also tried to meet Mayawati.
However, Naidu said that the TDP is a regional party in a state having 25 Lok Sabha seats and his role will be limited. "Somebody will do, I will follow. I want to help the process to work together. If there is consensus, we will work together. I'm doing my bit. I'm acting as a process facilitator. I'm not interested in becoming the prime minister," he added.
Naidu, a former BJP ally who quit the NDA early in 2018 over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh, also met Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha in the national capital. He, however, admitted that it would be a difficult exercise this time.
On coalition government, the TDP chief said, "If the leader is good and effective, development will take place even in coalition. In the past, more growth and development has taken place under coalition governments." However, today there is "no consensus" and that is why the Central Government is committing so many mistakes, he said.
Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was victimising those who oppose him, Naidu said that income tax raids are being conducted ahead of Assembly polls in several states including Karnataka and now in Andhra Pradesh. "The democracy is in danger. Institutions have collapsed. I don't want to comment on Rafale deal and the CBI. The ED and Income Tax department are being used against politicians. Tomorrow, they will attack me also. I never indulged in petty politics," he said.
The minister claimed that since the TDP quit the NDA, the Central Government is neglecting Andhra Pradesh more and is not releasing funds for development as promised under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. Even relief funds to Titli cyclone-hit districts has not been released, he claimed.
"Modi should have called the meeting of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Wherever they committed, they should have sorted out. Even sometimes if there were differences, that should have been addressed. That is the role of a prime minister. Despite that, the prime minister is creating problems among states. It is very unfortunate," he said.
Expressing concern over the "economic crisis" under the NDA government, the TDP chief claimed the implementation of demonetisation, GST, growing NPAs and frauds have derailed the economic development and investors have lost confidence. Rupee devaluation and rising fuel prices have affected the people in the country, he added.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Oct 28, 2018 08:35 AM