The much-anticipated meeting of non-BJP parties on November 22 in Delhi to discuss the strategy for a Grand Alliance to take on Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 has been postponed and may be held after the end of the Assembly elections in five states and before the Winter Session of Parliament begins on December 11.
The much-anticipated meeting of non-BJP parties on November 22 in Delhi to discuss the strategy for a Grand Alliance to take on Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 has been postponed and may be held after the end of the Assembly elections in five states and before the Winter Session of Parliament begins on December 11. The decision to postpone the meeting was announced by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
“The meeting to be held on November 22 has been postponed due to the ongoing election campaign. We want to meet before the next parliamentary session. We are in discussions about it,” Naidu had told reporters. The date of the meeting will be announced soon, he added.
Naidu’s TDP was earlier an ally of the BJP, but quit the ruling dispensation over the demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh. Naidu has led the charge in getting opposition parties together to put up a united front against the BJP since then. In the process, he has met a spectrum of leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK president MK Stalin, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, former PM and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda and BSP chief Mayawati in the process. On Monday, he met Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.
Echoing the same views, Banerjee said that the meeting will be held after campaigning for the Assembly elections ends and before the start of the Winter Session of Parliament.
Claiming that democracy in the country was in danger, Naidu said that there is a democratic compulsion for the opposition leaders to join ranks to protect the nation. He said that his meetings with opposition leaders including with Banerjee have been successful. He said that fighting together has become necessary as all major institutions in the country including the CBI, RBI, Election Commission, Income Tax are under threat.
“It is the responsibility of us, the senior leaders to protect the nation. Those who are opposing BJP will join together, discuss everything and chalk out a programme to go forward,” he said. “Even the petrol and diesel prices are increasing, there is inflation, the whole nation’s economy is at a standstill,” he added.
Will Mayawati join Grand Alliance?
Replying to a question on whether the BSP of Mayawati has refused to be a part of the Grand Alliance if the Congress is included, he said, “All these things, we are going to discuss. We are in touch with Mayawatiji along with everybody else.”
Meanwhile, Banerjee is also slated to hold a mega rally of opposition parties in Kolkata on January 19 next year. The TMC supremo said that she has invited all the opposition parties including Naidu for her proposed opposition party meeting here in January. The TDP chief on Monday immediately confirmed his presence for the rally.
“We are discussing the matters for the country’s interest and earlier, we also discussed so many things,” she said. “When the meeting will be decided, we will discuss the plan of action. We are working and speaking together.”
When asked who will be the face of the Grand Alliance, she replied, “Everybody will be the face of this Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance).”
Though the exact shape and depth of the proposed Grand Alliance is yet to be finalised, the talks about Grand Alliance gained momentum after Lok Sabha bypoll victories of the Congress in Rajasthan and Karnataka, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh and RJD in Bihar earlier this year. Besides, it was also being said that the meeting was convened in the midst of the ongoing assembly elections in five states to send a message to people of election-bound states that opposition parties are united against the BJP.