Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu who is partnering the Congress for the coming assembly elections in Telangana, will meet Rahul Gandhi this afternoon to take forward the talks on a broader opposition alliance for the next year’s general elections.
Recently, the Telugu Desam Party chief was also invited to join the UPA by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
Mr Naidu, who split from the NDA in March, has taken over the role of a “facilitator” for a broader opposition unity and met Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah earlier today.
This is Mr Naidu’s second trip to Delhi in less than a week. He has already held a round of preliminary meetings with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Dalit powerhouse Mayawati, Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu.
After today’s meeting, Mr Pawar said, “We are here today to welcome other opposition parties to come join us. Let us stand united against this government. What is happening in the CBI, the Enforcement Department and the Reserve Bank is for everyone to see.”
For December’s election In Telangana, Mr Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party will contest 14 of the state’s 119 seats, the Congress will get the lion’s share of 95 and the rest will go to other friendly parties.
The TDP has traditionally been in the anti-Congress camp both in the state and outside. In the late ’90s, he has contested state elections in alliance with the Left parties, in 1999 and 2004 and also in 2014, it was the BJP. In 2009, the TDP was with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti against the Congress.
Mr Naidu’s recent shift in policy playing a key role in the opposition at the side of the Congress marks a complete turnaround. To a party worker, Mr Naidu is said to have admitted that it is “political compulsion” that the TDP must join hands with the Congress and other non-BJP parties, to “save the nation” and “defeat the BJP”.
State leaders indicate that the compulsion lies in politics closer home.
In face of anti-incumbency on one hand and a possible friendship between arch-rival Jagan Mohan Reddy and the BJP on the other, Mr Naidu needs friends.
A partnership with the Congress can bring an incremental vote share and his party hopes help split the Reddy vote, which is often described as the strength of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.>