Deve Gowda Declares Chandrababu Naidu PM Face of Regional Partners, Andhra CM Junks Suggestion
However, the JD(S) patriarch did not say anything about TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who had earlier sought his support for a federal coalition.
JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda with AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu during a public meeting in Krishna district on Monday. (PTI)
Vijayawada: Stating that the country was looking forward to TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership, JD(S) chief and former prime minister Deve Gowda on Monday predicted the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister as the country’s next prime minister.
Stating that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) would win 150 Assembly seats and about 20 parliamentary constituencies, Gowda said Naidu would lead the coalition front of regional parties.
However, he did not say anything about Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who had earlier sought his support for a federal coalition.
Urging the people of Andhra Pradesh to reject the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and vote for TDP candidates, Gowda said the saffron party would bite dust in the upcoming polls for failing to deliver, besides denying special status to the state.
Gowda and Naidu addressed joint rallies in Krishna district on Monday evening in support of TDP candidates for the April 11 elections in the state.
During a gathering at Tiruvuru in the district, Gowda said the ruling TDP would be back in power in Andhra, adding that there was no use of electing candidates of the YSR Congress whose president Jagan Mohan Reddy was facing criminal cases and visiting courts.
Gowda, who began his speeches with the chants of “TDP Zindabad” and “Chandrababu zindabad”, heaped praises on Naidu for his effort to develop Amaravati as Andhra’s capital following the bifurcation of the state. In turn, Naidu praised Gowda for his integrity and secular politics in these tough times.
The former prime minister once also referred to the TDP chief as “honourable prime minister” and then corrected it to “would-be prime minister.” Quick in his reaction, Naidu said, “I am not an aspirant for any post.”
Noting that the country was today facing several challenges as "all democratic institutions have been demolished," Gowda said a debate has been going on in the media on who could challenge Modi.
“Who is going to challenge Modi is an issue. That has been going on in the media… Naidu has taken the lead to fight Modi's undemocratic ways of destroying democratic institutions," he said.
At the same time, Gowda observed that there were several leaders who could challenge Modi. Referring to the PM's criticism of opposition alliances, Gowda asserted that coalition governments also could give sufficient progress, as far as development was concerned.
“Every state has provided such strong leadership. In the south there is Chandrababu Naidu, West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, UP Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav..l ike this all the regional leaders have come together to give an alternative force meant to challenge Modi. The PM says stability of such groupings is a question mark but credit should go to Naidu for uniting all such leaders to challenge Modi,” Gowda said.
“It is not so simple to consolidate all the regional parties which have got their own ideology... It is nothing new," Gowda said, recalling the then NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his own United Front government.
“When Vajpayee was PM, he formed the government with 23 parties. Has he not fought the battle, the Kargil war? Has he not won the war? Now Modi says he is the only one who can challenge if there is any attack by Pakistan or neighbouring countries. That is a type of false impression he is going to give," Gowda said.
The JD(S) supremo also recalled his regime wherein he headed a 13-party coalition government at the Centre.
“What was the situation in Jammu and Kashmir then? For 10 years, no PM went there. I visited five times and brought peace. We conducted election, invited Farooq Abdullah. Brought him back from London. Election was held, a clear majority was given to the National Conference at that time," he said.
Similarly, no prime minister visited northeastern states, Gowda said. "I took seven days to go and study the situation. People were fighting. Two Naga leaders were in Geneva. I personally met them and persuaded them for a ceasefire. I asked them to come back to India but they came to Myanmar. We tried to negotiate and bring peace. I can give several such instances," the former PM added.
Lashing out at Modi, Gowda said there was an undeclared Emergency in the country "though there is no Emergency."
Gowda also targeted the BJP government at the Centre for resorting to revenge politics and using the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Election Commission against rival parties.
His remarks assume significance as I-T raids have been conducted at premises of several opposition leaders and their aides across the country. He also slammed the Modi-led government for the attacks on minorities.
He said Naidu, who has been in politics for about 40 years and is a three-time chief minister, would be the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate as both the BJP and Congress would meet a similar fate.
Naidu, who sought Gowda’s blessings by touching the JD(S) patriarch’s feet during one of the joint rallies, vowed to take on Modi if voters gave him the mandate.
The TDP chief said voting the Modi government back to power was similar to writing a death warrant as there would be no security left for Muslims in the country.
He said Modi and Rao were conspiring with Jagan against the TDP and voters should teach them a lesson.
Naidu said Rao should write a letter to the Centre in favour of Andhra’s special status and withdraw his petition filed in Supreme Court against the Polavaram project.
Meanwhile, the TRS president has announced his support for the special status in the neighbouring state, while stating that Reddy would form the next government in the state. “We will work together for the development of both the states,” Rao said in an election campaign at Vikarabad.
Last month, Naidu had last month declared that Rao and not Reddy was TDP's main rival in Andhra.
(With inputs from PTI)
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