New Delhi: In a move that indicates the Telugu Desam Party would join the national opposition front forming against the BJP, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu will meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday.
The TDP and Congress have already put aside their rivalry for the Telangana assembly elections to defeat K Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS, and could do the same for the Lok Sabha elections next year, sources said.
In an official statement, the TDP hinted at as much, teasing “the likelihood of a key announcement with regards to the emerging political equations.”
Signaling that Naidu could play a major role in bringing “like-minded” opposition parties together, the party said he would also meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha and National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah to impress upon them the dire need to surge ahead politically.
“In the interest of the future of the country, he will be acting as a bridge to unite various political parties and defeat the NDA allies led by the BJP,” it said.
Wednesday’s visit to the capital would be the Andhra CM’s second within a week, as he seeks to position himself as a leader who could fashion the anti-NDA alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections. On Saturday, he had met Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal and Sharad Yadav.
He had already made a place for himself in coalition politics on the national stage two decades ago as he twice was the convenor of the grand opposition alliance – in 1995 and in 1998.
Since the TDP broke away from the NDA earlier this year over the Centre's refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh, Naidu has lost no opportunity to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.
With the constant attacks, political analysts say, Naidu hopes to amplify his opposition to Modi which would not only help him on the national stage, but also within Andhra Pradesh, which would also go to polls next year.
Simultaneously, he has hinted he has no problem with being a part of a national alliance with the Congress, saying there could not be one without there being one national party in the mix. The stance has surprised observers as the Congress was seen as the villain behind the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra CM had started out his political career as a Congress MLA but had joined the TDP after marrying the daughter of NT Rama Rao. Justifying his party's alliance with Congress in Telangana, he has said it was a 'democratic compulsion' due to 'historic reasons' and was done after TRS spurned his offer for a tie-up.