Opposition parties will move forward to defeat BJP: Naidu

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BSP leader Mayawati and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and said that opposition parties have political and ideological compulsions, but they have to move forward to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

The TDP leader met Loktrantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as part of his efforts to bring together opposition parties against the Modi government in the 2019 elections. Naidu also called on CPI leaders D Raja and S Sudhakar Reddy at Capital’s Andhra Bhawan.

Addressing a press conference, Naidu attacked the Modi government saying people were feeling betrayed and that opposition parties should find ways to come together in the overall interest of the country.

“What is right, (on that basis) we have to move forward. There are political compulsions, there are ideological compulsions…and overall interest of the nation — how to join together, how to work together. I am meeting everybody. We will move forward.”

Naidu, whose party had quit the Modi government and the ruling National Democratic Alliance earlier this year, accused it of targeting opposition leaders.

Asked if he could be convenor of a third front, Naidu did not give a direct answer, but noted that coalition governments “have done well” and their “policies are very clear.”

He said India had “Hindu growth rate” during a long period of Congress dominance and economic reforms were initiated by the Narasimha Rao government, which did not have a full majority on its own.

Naidu referred to the coalition governments including the National Front and the United Front governments and said governments have not been formed without a national party. “You have to give confidence. We have to move forward,” he said.

He also talked about the possibility of post-poll tie-ups.

“After elections, some big people may come. (At present) there is pressure from central government. It is a continuous process,” he said.

Asked about his stance on Congress, Naidu said the two parties are part of an alliance against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti in Telangana.

He said Congress had divided the state, but it had promised special status which the BJP-led government did not implement.

Kejriwal, who met Naidu in the capital’s Andhra Pradesh Bhawan, later said they discussed national issues.

“Had a good meeting with Chandrababu Naidu. Sharad Yadav was also present for a while. Discussed national issues. Present BJP government is a threat to the nation and to the Constitution. People across India will need to join hands to save India and the Constitution,” he tweeted.

Efforts to forge bring opposition parties together are also being forged by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Targeting Modi, Naidu said he has run a full majority government but “it is very bad for the nation.”

He said the Modi government had failed to fulfill its promises, and measures such as demonetisation had caused suffering to people.

He said while fraudesters had left the country, the banks were facing mounting non-performing assets.

The TDP leader said the rupee had considerably depreciated and petroleum prices had gone up at record levels.

He said Modi has to answer about the recent unsavoury incidents in the CBI where two top officers made serious allegations against each other.

He alleged that the government had created “power centres” in the agency through an officer whose cadre was the same as the home state of the Prime Minister.

They should “not tinker and damage the institutions”, he said, adding that “democracy is in danger”.

Answering a query on YSR Congress Party President Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy sustaining a minor injury at the Visakhapatam airport in a knife attack, Naidu said the attack was a “drama” to garner sympathy for the YSR Congress.

He also accused the state governor of “interfering” with the administration.