‘Congress is the main anchor against the BJP as it has a pan-India base’
Telugu Desam Party leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday evening said Opposition parties should sink their differences and sail together to protect the nation from the BJP. He made it clear that the Congress was the main anchor against the BJP as it had a pan-India base and the regional parties have to work together for the nation.
Calling himself as a “facilitator” and not the face of the Opposition unity, Mr. Naidu, who met DMK president M.K. Stalin at the latter’s Alwarpet residence in Chennai, said even though the regional parties had differences with the Congress, they had joined hands with the party. “One or two may have some differences. We are bringing together everybody and ignoring our differences. Nation is important, democracy is important,” he said in the presence of Mr. Stalin, who made it clear that the new alliance would have a common minimum programme.
To a question on who would lead the alliance, he said there were many leaders and even Mr. Stalin was better than Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We are strong leaders on our own,” he said.
Asked whether Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would be able to lead the front, Mr. Naidu said Mr. Gandhi was a leader on his own.
“He is leading the Congress, the main opposition party and today it is the main anchor against the BJP. They have a pan-India base. We are all regional parties. We are working together,” he said, adding that Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu and the TDP in Andhra Pradesh were very strong parties.
To a question whether the TDP cadre would be happy with the Congress, he said: “If you think about the nation, you have to allign.”
“Every body has differences with the Congress and the Telugu Desam. You are talking about politics and I am talking about democracy. If there is no democracy there is no need for parties. National interest is of utmost importance compared to individual and political interests. That is where everybody is going together on one platform,” he said, adding that he had also met former Prime Minister Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumarasamy.
Mr. Naidu said the situation in the country had come to a stage that the media was not covering the meeting of the Opposition in Delhi.
“They are afraid. Even Mr. Gandhi made it clear. For the first time you (have) come here to report live,” he had said.
Asked whether six months were enough for the Opposition to prepare for the elections, he said people were prepared now.
“Have you got any benefit from the NDA government? Are you suffering or not? Are you not standing in the queue for your money. We are not able to draw our own money. What a pity in this country. Have they done anything to Tamil Nadu?” he asked.
When his opinion was sought about the AIADMK government, he wondered where the government was. “It is remote controlled by Delhi,” he said.
Expressing his support, Mr. Stalin said he would participate in the meeting of leaders either in Delhi or in some other State.