In a bid to build a pan-India alliance to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday held talks with Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Naidu also met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in the national capital to take forward the alliance talks for the December Assembly elections in Telangana. This move indicates that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) would join the national opposition front forming against the BJP for the 2019 polls, TDP sources said.
Naidu also met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and briefly discussed the need to bring all non-BJP political parties together, the TDP sources said.
Wednesday’s visit to Delhi would be the Andhra chief minister’s second within a week, as he seeks to position himself as a leader who could fashion the anti-NDA alliance ahead of the 2019 general elections. On Saturday, he had met Mayawati, Arvind Kejriwal and Sharad Yadav.
The TDP and Congress have already put aside their rivalry for the Telangana Assembly elections to defeat K Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS, and could do the same for the Lok Sabha elections next year, sources said as quoted by News18.
In an official statement, the TDP hinted at as much, teasing “the likelihood of a key announcement with regards to the emerging political equations.” “In the interest of the future of the country, he will be acting as a bridge to unite various political parties and defeat the NDA allies led by the BJP,” it said.Initial discussions between the Congress and the TDP were conducted by state-level leaders who were working on a seat-sharing formula.
Sources said during his visit, Naidu is likely to meet other Opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar and National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah, whom he met earlier this month. He is also expected to meet senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily, who recently invited Mr Naidu's TDP to join the UPA, according to NDTV.
Naidu had already made a place for himself in coalition politics on the national stage as the convenor of the grand opposition alliance – in 1995 and in 1998.