Removing the Congress from power is necessary to “rescue the country from the current crisis”, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu said Sunday, and didn’t rule out a tie-up with the BJP in the process.
“Yes, my priority is to defeat the Congress,” the former chief minister of
Andhra Pradesh — that contributes 31 MPs to the total Congress strength of 206 in Lok Sabha – told HT.
Naidu had met BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Saturday, triggering speculation of a tie-up between the former allies. But he also met the CPI-M’s Prakash Karat the same day and the JD-U’s Sharad Yadav on Sunday.
After recently breaking its 17-year alliance with the JD-U, the BJP is desperate for a new ally. Tying up with Naidu would give it a foothold in Andhra, a state where it has little presence.
Naidu was the kingpin of the non-BJP, non-Congress United Front between 1996 and 1998. His attempts now to revive this anti-Congress thread could be greatly helpful to the BJP.
Naidu’s decision to shift towards the BJP by first extending outside support to the NDA government in 1998 and then by striking a pre-poll alliance with it the following year had also helped a great deal in ending the isolation the saffron party had faced after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The BJP faces a similar situation today — the stigma of the 2002 Gujarat riots still haunts it. And it has just two allies now, the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal.
“Price rise, a falling rupee, political vendetta and a complete disregard for the plight of the common man have made the Congress rule a huge burden on the country. The situation is very bad and I hold the Congress entirely responsible,” Naidu said, adding that the UPA regime was characterised by “non-performance, corruption, policy paralysis and arrogance”.
Asked about a possible alliance with the BJP, he said: “I don’t rule in or rule out anything. I am talking to all parties on the situation in the country.”
Naidu is in the Capital purportedly to discuss the fallout of the Telangana decision. While exploring his political options, his key challenge remains stopping
Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress in its tracks. TDP leader Nama Nageswara Rao had met the central vigilance commissioner last week, urging him to speed up the investigation into Reddy’s disproportionate assets case.
The TDP has alleged “match-fixing” between the Congress and YSR Congress to pave the way for Reddy to get bail in a corruption case.
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