In his bid to drum up opposition support against the ruling BJP, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday met his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee and stated that parties which oppose the ruling BJP will join forces to “protect the nation” as “democracy is in danger”.
Addressing reporters with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata, the TDP chief said there is “intolerance” towards minorities in the country and institutions like CBI, ED, Income Tax dept, RBI and CAG are under “severe pressure”.
When asked who will be the face of the grand alliance in 2019, Mamata said “everyone will be the face of the mahaghatbandhan”, adding that all opposition parties are “together” in the fight against the BJP. The West Bengal chief minister later thanked Naidu later for coming to Kolkata to meet her.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister informed that scheduled Opposition meet on November 22 has been postponed due to Assembly elections in several states. “We earlier wanted to have a meeting on November 22 but because of the elections, we want to meet before the next Parliament session. That is what we are discussing and the date will be announced soon. We will discuss everything and chalk out a programme to take this momentum further. We want to protect this nation,” Naidu told reporters after his meeting with Banerjee who was also present there.
Responding to queries on whether BSP chief Mayawati will be part of that Opposition meet, Naidu said, “All these things will be discussed later. We are in touch with Mayawati ji and everybody. Those who want to save the nation will work together.”
The BJP reacted to the meeting, saying the TDP chief is making futile attempts to build an alliance of opposition parties as many of them are resisting his efforts to grab a central role for himself and to project Congress president Rahul Gandhi as the leader of such a grouping.
“Whatever may be Naidu’s political compulsions for his desperate actions, there is no credible alternative leader or party to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP in national politics today. Naidu is making futile attempts at alliance building,” PTI quoted BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimhra Rao as saying.
Naidu, whose TDP was earlier an ally of the BJP, has met a spectrum of leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, National Conference’ Farooq Abdullah, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, his Karnataka counterpart H D Kumaraswamy and DMK president M K Stalin as part of his efforts to forge a front against the ruling party. Read | Chandrababu Naidu meets Rahul Gandhi, says coming together is ‘democratic compulsion’.
He also informed that he will attend the January 19 brigade rally in Kolkata which has been organised by TMC to strengthen the Opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“This is broadly anti-BJP platform. This is in the interest of the nation. Save democracy, save the nation and save the institutions..that is the agenda. That is the national agenda, an utmost important agenda,” Naidu had earlier said, adding that the in the united front, Congress is the main opposition party.
“Now I have convinced everybody. Everybody is willing to cooperate with us. In this experiment, Congress is the main opposition party. They have more responsibility. We have to acknowledge that,” he said.
The TDP with Naidu at its helm quit the NDA in March this year, citing the centre’s refusal to grant Andhra Pradesh the ‘special category status’.