As part of his bid to unite Opposition parties to take on BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu met JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, and Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy at their Bengaluru residence.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu meets former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru pic.twitter.com/bm0TFpndrn
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2018
Naidu was accorded a ceremonial welcome after the meeting. The leaders then addressed the media. "For the past four years, the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created so many problems, including the destabilisation of certain constitutionally-created institutions. It is the responsibility of all secular parties to comes together to replace the NDA government," Deve Gowda said. "Naidu has taken the lead. He's doing his best to consolidate all secular parties to remove the NDA government in 2019. For the same reason, he has come today to meet us to workout strategy to consolidate all these forces. We have discussed steps for the future. He is going to work hard to secure leaders, and the Congress should also cooperate. The country is paramount. Congress has a great responsibility."
Gowda claimed that although Congress isn't in power in several states, it will win the upcoming bypolls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh.
Naidu said the reason behind his visit to Bengaluru was "to seek Deve Gowda's blessings and support for this great path". "We had great relations from the beginning. I cannot forget in my lifetime the amount of respect he has given me. All the leaders have to come together to save the nation and save democracy," he said.
Naidu targeted the NDA government, saying that their several institutions had been "destroyed" under Modi's rule. "The CBI is in trouble. The RBI, which is an autonomous, is under threat. Even the RBI governor is unable to solve the problems that the government has created. They (NDA government) are using these institutions against the Opposition to conduct raids and for total harassment of Opposition leaders. The economy is in doldrums. No results have come from demonetisation. Petrol prices are increasing day by day. The farmers are in trouble. Even minorities are insecure. It is our responsibility to protect this nation and save the Constitution."
Responding to a question on the grand alliance's candidate for the 2019 election, Naidu said, "You are interested in the prime ministerial candidate, I am interested in saving the Constitution and the democracy. We will decide on the candidate, but first, we want to protect democracy. Congress is a major Opposition party. Tomorrow(Friday), I'm meeting DMK president MK Stalin. I am interested in consensus. I have taken some initiative. After that we will have a meeting to discuss how to go about it."
Kumaraswamy said that Gowda and Naidu met to "strengthen the hands of all secular forces in the country". "They have discussed several issues. After Naidu's entry (in the move to form alliance to oust the BJP), 1996 will again be repeated in 2019 election," he said.
As the meeting took place in Bengaluru, TDP leader Lanka Dinakar told CNN-News18, "The expectation (from this meeting) is nothing but to remove Modi and save democracy... Naidu is a tall leader, while Deve Gowda is the former prime minister of the country. These two people are the inseparable part of the mahagathbandhan. We are starting with south India... Definitely this dream is going to come true."
Responding to Dinakar's remarks, BJP leader Krishna Sagar Rao said, "It is not a dream but a nightmare. He (Naidu) is brokering alliances in south India. This is all driven by his political desperation and compulsions." Rao further said that Naidu is taking efforts to strengthen the mahagathbandhan because "Rahul Gandhi cannot accomplish this".
The meeting came days after the Congress-JD(S) won two of the three Lok Sabha seats and both the Assembly constituencies in the fiercely-fought bypolls. Buoyed by the victory, Kumaraswamy and Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao asserted that the two parties will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together against the BJP.
Naidu had called Kumaraswamy over phone on Tuesday and congratulated the latter on the JD(S)-Congress combine's "spectacular victory" in the by-elections. Naidu also recently met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, among others. At a joint press conference on 1 November, they said they were looking to work out ways to come together and put up a collective front "to protect the future of the nation".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Nov 08, 2018 17:53:54 IST