Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at his residence in Amaravati on Saturday to firm up a joint campaign to defeat the BJP-led NDA in next year’s General Election. Following the meeting, they said all non-BJP opposition parties will be invited to meet in the national on November 22 to decide on ways to “move forward” and “build an organisational structure” for the anti-BJP platform, he added.
Addressing the media after the meeting with Gehlot, Naidu said, “This is broadly an anti-BJP platform. This is in the interest of the nation. Save democracy, save the nation and save institutions — that is the national agenda, an utmost important agenda.”
Referring to the alliance between his party, the Telugu Desam Party, and the Congress for the first time since the TDP was formed — on an anti-Congress platform — Naidu said, “We tied up with Congress due to democratic compulsion in interest of the nation. I am appealing to all parties: we should put aside our differences and join together for the broader cause.”
He said a “final meeting” with West Bengal CM and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will be held on either November 19 or 20, PTI reported.
Calling the present situation in the country as an undeclared emergency, Gehlot also referred to the TDP’s tie-up with the Congress “for the first time”: “(It is) to protect the country. We will all come together on November 22 to finalise the future course of action.”
Replying to questions, Naidu said there are only “two platforms” in the country at present: BJP and anti-BJP. “Political parties should decide which side they are. If they don’t join us, it means they are with the BJP,” PTI quoted Naidu saying. “The Tamil Nadu government is controlled by remote control (from New Delhi). Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s agenda is BJP’s agenda. Some parties…are aligned with the BJP.”
Naidu had recently met former Prime Minister and JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda, Gowda’s son and Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy and DMK president M K Stalin as part of his efforts to forge a front against the BJP.
He had earlier met leaders from different parties such as Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah and Arvind Kejriwal.
Stating that he has managed to “convince everybody”, Naidu said, according to PTI, “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.”
Naidu blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the present state of affairs in the CBI and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He said the value of rupee have fallen, prices of essential commodities have risen, unemployment has increased, and farmers are in a crisis. “Intolerance towards people from SC, ST and minority communities has increased. Under this government, India’s secular fabric has been damaged and unrest is prevailing (all across).”
And amid all this, Naidu said, the Central government is conducting raids on those questioning the government, including the media and Opposition politicians, to “frighten them”.
Claiming that it is time to take a “decision on the country’s future”, the TDP chief said, “I have no personal interest. We have to protect the country, protect democracy, and protect constitutional rights. Narendra Modi’s negative attitude and unilateral decisions along with (BJP chief) Amit Shah are leading to problems… The Modi-Shah duo is destroying systems in the country.’’ — With PTI inputs