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Chandrababu Naidu Meets Oppn Leaders to Cement Alliance for 2019, Denies Prime Ministerial Ambitions

Chandrababu Naidu Meets Oppn Leaders to Cement Alliance for 2019, Denies Prime Ministerial Ambitions

Asserting that someone will act as a catalyst to form an alternative front, he said leaders such as TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal are making efforts in that direction.

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu met a string of Opposition leaders in the national capital on Saturday in an effort to weave an alliance against the ruling BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Naidu, who said he would play the role of a "facilitator" in helping evolve a credible alternative said, “It is only (because of) political compulsion and in the overall interest of the nation, parties will join together. Some may not join before elections, some of them may join after elections.”

Some parties are "afraid" to join today because of pressure from the BJP, he said, adding he may even have to meet some leaders because of "democratic compulsions".

Asserting that someone will act as a catalyst to form an alternative front, he said leaders such as TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal are making efforts in that direction.

"Somebody will do, I will follow. I want to help the process to work together. If there is consensus, we will work together. I'm doing my bit. I'm acting as a process facilitator. I'm not interested in becoming the prime minister,” he said, adding that the TDP was a regional party in a state having 25 Lok Sabha seats and his role would be limited.

Naidu, a former BJP ally who quit the NDA early this year over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh, on Saturday met BSP chief Mayawati, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and Kejriwal in the national capital.

On coalition government, the TDP chief said, "If the leader is good and effective, development will take place even in coalition. In the past, more growth and development has taken place under coalition governments."

However, today there is "no consensus" and that is why the central government is committing so many mistakes, he said.

Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was victimising those who oppose him, Naidu said income tax raids are being conducted ahead of assembly polls in several states.

"Democracy is in danger. Institutions have collapsed. I don't want to comment on Rafale deal and the CBI. The ED and Income Tax department are being used against politicians. Tomorrow, they will attack me also. I never indulged in petty politics," he said.

He claimed that since the TDP quit the NDA, the Centre is neglecting Andhra Pradesh more and is not releasing funds for development as promised under the Andhra Pradesh Reorgansiation Act. Even relief funds to Titli cyclone-hit districts have not been released, he claimed.

"...Modi should have called the meeting of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Wherever they committed, they should have sorted out. Even if there were differences, that should have been addressed. That is the role of a PM. Despite that, the PM is creating problems among states. It is very unfortunate," he said.

Expressing concern over the "economic crisis" under the NDA government, the TDP chief claimed the implementation of demonetisation, GST, growing NPAs and frauds have derailed the economic development and investors have lost confidence. Rupee devaluation and rising fuel prices have affected the people in the country, he added.