Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday called the Congress the main anchor of the anti-BJP front, saying his recent meetings with various opposition leaders was aimed at forging a national coalition.
“Rahul Gandhi is a leader on his own. The Congress is a national party and the main anchor against the BJP…. we are all regional parties. There can be no ‘Mahagathbandhan’ without Congress,” Naidu said after meeting DMK chief MK Stalin in Chennai.
After the meet, Stalin said an “anti-national, anti-secular BJP rule needs to be stopped and Naidu has taken efforts towards that”.
Naidu has, in the last one month, met nearly all top opposition leaders in an attempt to bring regional parties on a platform to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. He is also scheduled to meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to seek her support for the anti-BJP bloc.
With leadership issues still unsettled in the opposition front, Naidu’s meeting with Gandhi last week and his recognition of the Congress’s ‘anchor role’ in opposition unity assumes significance. While the TDP may be willing to do business with the Congress despite being arch rivals for years, some other regional parties and leaders nursing prime ministerial ambitions may not be willing to concede leadership to the grand old party.
Naidu on Friday added that the TDP and Congress may have differences, “but we have to ally for national interest”.
Attacking the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Naidu said democracy was in danger, with institutions such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) being compromised.
The TDP chief said the economy was in doldrums and the finance minister’s statement on demonetisation was “amusing” as “frauds have escaped from the country and all black money has been converted to white.”