Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will meet his West Bengal counterpart and All India Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday to discuss the possibility of an alliance that will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Naidu is trying to build an anti-BJP alliance of regional parties along with the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A few weeks ago, he met other regional leaders and Congress president Rahul Gandhi to discuss the same.
Earlier this month, Naidu had met senior Congress leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot to discuss the same. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo surprised everyone by announced his willingness to join hands with the Congress to take on the BJP in 2019. Naidu’s move, which he termed as a “democratic compulsion", was surprising given that the TDP was formed on anti-Congress platform by its founder and his late father-in-law (and former AP chief minister) N.T. Rama Rao.
A TDP leader, who did not want to be identified, said while most regional parties might be convinced to join Naidu’s anti-BJP coalition, getting Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) on board might not be easy, given that the Congress is also in the opposition alliance. “We have to see how the talks progress in the coming days," he added.
Naidu met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Jammu Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) chief Farooq Abdullah, Congress president Gandhi, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, former SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Dravida Munntera Kazhagam supremo M. K. Stalin and Janata Dal (Secular) chief H.D. Deve Gowda earlier this month.
Last week, the AP government also withdrew its general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is being seen as an all-out war between Naidu and the BJP-led centre. The TDP chief has been alleging that the BJP is misusing government machinery to target TDP legislators, especially after his party left the National Democratic Alliance earlier this year.