NEW DELHI: Cranking up efforts to create an Opposition mahagathbandhan or grand alliance, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and Congress president Rahul Gandhi jointly announced their decision to work together along with other like-minded parties to save democracy by defeating the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“We have to defend democracy, institutions and the future of the country. We are going to come together and work together,” Rahul said in a joint media interaction with Naidu after the meeting.
This was Naidu’s second visit to Delhi within a week. He met a battery of senior party leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav.
During his earlier visits, he has met his West Bengal and Delhi counterparts Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal and BSP chief Mayawati.
“We have to work together and deliver people’s aspirations. The principal challenge for the Opposition is to work together. Everything else is secondary. Jobs, farmers, and Rafale deal corruption will be our major issues against the Centre,” said Rahul.
Like Naidu, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had made a few visits to the Capital and proposed a “one-on-one strategy” - fielding a joint Opposition candidate against each BJP nominee on all Lok Sabha seats - but it found few takers.
“Who will play what role, time will decide. Any leader will be better than Modi to lead India...not just Rahul, any leader will be better,” Naidu later said when asked whether Rahul has the qualities to become PM.
Deflects queries on the front’s PM face
Chandrababu Naidu expertly deflected queries on the PM face, saying: “You are interested in candidate, we are interested in the nation... It is a reality you have to understand that Congress is a main opposition party. All other parties are necessary. We’ll work on them.”