Continuing his efforts to forge a grand alliance against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday met DMK President M.K. Stalin and urged opposition parties to sink their differences in the interest of the nation and democracy.
“We are all together in bringing parties on one platform. One or two may have differences of opinion. We (TDP) had differences with COngress for 40 years but at the same time now we are working how to bring together all. Democracy is important. It is for people to sink their differences. People are prepared now,” he told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Stalin at his residence.
Naidu said he had a meeting with former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Thursday and had a good meeting. “I am in touch with Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) and would be meeting her soon as part of these efforts,” he said.
Recalling his meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi last week in the national capital, he said, “All of us want to join together and save the nation.”
The TDP chief deftly avoided answering questions on who will be the face of the opposition grouping against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“There are so many leaders. Even Stalinji is better than Modi. We might have differences with Congress. But when you think of nation, national interest is utmost importance. Everybody is joining together on one platform. Today, you are talking of individuals. I am taking of democracy. If democracy survives only then you can elect leaders. If there is no democracy, there is nothing.”
Replying to a question, Naidu said Rahul Gandhi is the Congress President and is the main anchor for the opposition against the BJP and his party has an all India presence.
“We are regional parties. Even Mamata Banerjee is strong in West Bengal. I am strong in Andhra Pradesh. Deve Gowda is strong in Karnataka and Stalin is strong in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
To another question, Naidu said he was not the face of the opposition grouping. “I am not an aspirant. I am only a facilitator. I will bring everybody together,” he said.
On his part, Stalin said that he welcomes Naidu’s efforts to bring together opposition parties against the anti-people and communal government of Modi.
“I have already welcomed his meeting with Congress President on this account. Naidu has told me that he was planning to convene a meeting of like minded parties either in Delhi or any other state capital to draw up a strategy to defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. I have accepted his invitation,” he said.
Both the leaders attacked the Modi government for undermining the autonomy of institutions like the RBI, CBI, office of Governors, saying that democracy and the nation were under immense threat.