Millennium Post

Rahul and Chandrababu join hands to take on BJP

NEW DELHI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who is partnering the Congress for the coming assembly elections in Telangana, met Rahul Gandhi Thursday afternoon to take forward the talks on a broader opposition alliance for the next year's general elections. Calling it a "democratic compulsion", the TDP supremo said they have agreed in principle to unite. Confirming that they were "coming together", Gandhi said, "The parties will work to ensure that the attack on democratic institutions stops."

The Congress president said opposition parties would work together on most important issues, including unemployment and corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal.

Naidu, who broke away from the NDA in March, has taken over the role of a "facilitator" for broader opposition unity and met Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah earlier on Thursday. Recently, the Telugu Desam Party chief was also invited to join the UPA by senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily.

This is 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 Mamata Banerjee, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu.

After Thursday's meeting, Pawar said, "We are here to welcome other opposition parties to come to 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."

Accusing the BJP of attacking Constitutional institutions, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said on Thursday that "democracy is in danger" as he met NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

For December's election in Telangana, 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 like-minded parties.

Curiously, the TDP has traditionally been in the anti-Congress camp - both in the state and outside.

Naidu playing a vital role in the opposition at the side of the Congress -marks a complete change of heart.

Staring at anti-incumbency on the one hand and a possible understanding with between arch-rival Jagan Mohan Reddy and the BJP on the other, Naidu needs allies.

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