#NChandrababuNaidu: “Opposition unity must to save India’s Constitution and democratic institutions from BJP”

After having a meeting in Bangalore with the Janata Dal (Secular) President and former Prime Minister of India,  Deva Gowda and his son, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, HD Kumaraswamy, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, Nara Chandrababu Naidu laid emphasis on the need for the opposition parties to come on a same platform to fight the next year’s Lok Sabha Elections, to save India’s Constitution and democratic institutions from the BJP.

TDP Chief and AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu, after meeting JDS leaders, HD Kumaraswamy and Deva Gowda, speaking to media in Bangalore.

After the meeting got over, the three leaders were on the same page and told in unison about the urgent need to put up a united opposition against the BJP in 2019 General Elections.

The decision as to who will become the Prime Ministerial candidate will be taken at a later stage, the leaders told the media in Bangalore this evening. The three politicians met at 4.00 PM. When Naidu arrived at Deva Gowda’s residence at Padmanabha Nagar in South Bangalore, the former received warm welcome from both father and son. When the meeting got over, the senior politicians spoke to the media in length about the future course of action.

“It is of paramount importance that the opposition parties emerged on a same platform in order to save democracy at a time when national institutions like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were compromised. The CBI, in actuality, should be autonomous. But, the investigating agency has been used t keep the opposition under control”, Naidu accused the BJP Government.

Demonitisation Dig

Taking a jibe at the Union Government’s demonitisation drive on its second anniversary, Naidu claimed that the “ill-advised” move had in fact, slowed down India’s economy.  While expressing his confidence in the victory in the Lok Sabha hustings, Kumaraswamy said, “The history of 1996 verdict will repeat in 2019 elections as well”, apparently, the Chief Minister was referring to the time when several regional political parties managed to form a coalition in the form of United Front with Congress support and his father, Deva Gowda as Prime Minister. This confidence stems from the recent success of the Congress-JDS combine in the by-polls, which has come as a booster shot for plans to present a united front against the BJP in the Parliamentary elections. After the by-poll victory, the Chief Minister broadly hinted that the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi should lead the opposition charge in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

TDP Chief and CM of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu meeting Congress President, Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence. Photo Courtesy: IE

To a specific query on Rahul’s likely candidature for the Prime Ministership, Naidu dodged it and said, “You are interested in the PM candidate and politics while I am interested in saving democracy. Obviously, there is a conflict of interest here. What is more, selecting a Prime Ministerial candidate is a decision for a later day.”

Endorsing Naidu’s view on the matter, Kumaraswamy said that the PM candidature cannot be taken in haste as there are several leaders in various opposition parties who are capable of governing the country in an organised manner. So, the question of deciding on PM post can be discussed later. The need of the hour is to unite the opposition and save democracy, the Karnataka CM said.

Kumaraswamy also hinted about a mega-meeting of opposition leaders, akin to the one seen during his swearing in event as the Chief Minister. “I am contemplating on organising an event by December end or early January next year. All the regional leaders sans BJP members will be invited for the meeting”, he said.

Sheet Anchor Role

Naidu is playing a sheet anchor role now. He is negotiating with various political parties to form an alliance, taking up a role that has been handled earlier by Janata Dal (United) Chief, Nitish Kumar reconsidering his decision to go back to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 2017.

It may be recalled that Naidu had formally joined hands with Congress President, Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi at the start of the month with the main aim of defeating the BJP. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also had meeting with Nationalist Congress Party Chief, Sharad Pawar and National Conference President, Farooq Abdullah and few other political party heads with the intention of forming an alliance. Although, the BJP had dismissed Naidu’s endeavours as political tourism, post Karnataka by-poll results, the ruling dispensation will be a little worried about the prospects of the united opposition upsetting its electoral ambition of governing the nation for another term.