Eye on 2019, TDP leader Naidu buries anti-Congress past, meets Rahul Gandhi to stitch alliance

By: | Published: November 2, 2018 12:21 AM

TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been reaching out to Opposition parties in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday as part of an exercise to stitch an alliance against the ruling BJP, saying there’s “democratic compulsion” and “we have to join together to protect the country”.

Rahul Gandhi called his meeting with Naidu “a momentous occasion” and said the two parties were ready to forget the past to take on the BJP.

TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been reaching out to Opposition parties in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi Thursday as part of an exercise to stitch an alliance against the ruling BJP, saying there’s “democratic compulsion” and “we have to join together to protect the country”.

Fundamentally opposed to the Congress and a lead player in the formation of the 1996 United Front government, Naidu called the Congress “the principal Opposition party” and said “we want to organise all those parties opposing the BJP… I have proposed all political parties have one meeting on a common platform”.
Earlier in the day, Naidu met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah with the suggestion for a common platform. In recent days, Naidu has met BSP chief Mayawati, AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav.

Rahul Gandhi called his meeting with Naidu “a momentous occasion” and said the two parties were ready to forget the past to take on the BJP. He said the Congress and TDP will “work together” in the Telangana assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls.
“The gist of the meeting was that we have to defend democracy and institutions of this country. We have to defend the future of this country. So we are coming together. We are going to work together and all Opposition forces are going to work together to defend India,” Gandhi said after the meeting.
Asked about the animosity between the two parties, Gandhi said: “We have had a past. But both of us agreed that we are not going to get into the past. We are going to talk about the present and future because it is critical for our country. We have agreed that the principal idea here is to defeat the BJP and to defend democracy and the institutions of this country. All other ideas will be discussed later.”

Naidu said his decision to reach out to the Congress was a “democratic compulsion”. He had earlier met Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Delhi airport which the TDP called “coincidental”.
“Congress party is the main, principal Opposition party. We are all there, we will sit together and chalk out a programme. We have our own base. But it is a reality we have to understand, that the Congress party is the main Opposition. And all other parties are necessary. So we will work on these things. Our motive is to save the nation,” he said.

When a reporter asked Gandhi why no other Opposition party was supporting his party’s stand on the Rafale fighter purchase, he said: “Naiduji will answer this.”
Naidu, on his part, said: “Rahulji has supported the issues of Andhra Pradesh related to bifurcation (of the state). We are all in agreement. We are all concerned about what’s happening to institutions. That’s why Rahulji is taking the lead on Rafale and other issues. Other parties are talking about it. Even I am talking. In national forum, a single voice will ring. It will have tremendous impact. We will do that.”

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition