Joining hands with the Congress was a democratic compulsion: Chandrababu Naidu
TDP would consider playing the requisite role in the national politics for uniting the Opposition parties for a national front to take on the BJP-led NDA in the next Lok Sabha elections, he told ET’s CR Sukumar in an interview. The proposed national alliance will have Congress as a member either before or after the Lok Sabha elections. The TDP supremo vowed to protect the interests of the two Telugu speaking states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana through mutual cooperation. Edited excerpts…
Indian politics is traditionally guided largely by political compulsions. For TDP, joining hands with the Congress in Telangana is a democratic compulsion. We had forged an alliance with the BJP in the last elections trusting its promises to do justice to the Telugu speaking states. Forget about doing additional favours to us because of the alliance partnership at both the state and national levels, BJP didn’t even bother to fulfil the assurances made during the state bifurcation in 2014 by the then Congress-led UPA government. BJP ditched and unilaterally severed ties with TDP in Telangana.
In these circumstances, I made a proposal to the Telangana Rahstra Samithi (TRS) president and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for joining together to protect the interests of Telugu speaking states with combined strength in the Parliament, but he has turned down my proposal. The Telangana arm of TDP has decided to join hands with the Congress for its survival and to serve the people of Telangana.
Will you consider extending the alliance with the Congress at the national level as well?
We had fought against the Congress in the past because TDP was its main opponent both at the state and central level. Otherwise, we don’t have any major ideological differences when it comes to economic reforms, development, welfare and secular ideology. There’s a need for all the opposition parties at the national level to unite against the BJP- led NDA to protect the democracy in the country. The alliance could take place either before the elections or after the elections. An alliance to take on the BJP-led NDA is not possible without the participation of the Congress.
How do you evaluate the rule of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre?
Thanks to the flawed policy initiatives of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government, the Indian economy has been crippled. The social fabric got damaged with the growing attacks on minorities and Dalits and democracy has suffered a serious blow. Fuel prices have shot up, rupee suffered its worst ever fall, industry and economy have been crippled and growth rate has taken a plunge. The BJP-led NDA government has miserably failed in all aspects. The UPA did well in the first term and failed to keep it up in the second. But the common man was not put to inconvenience during the second term of UPA.
The Opposition in Andhra has stepped up corruption allegations against the ruling TDP?
The Opposition parties in Andhra have now colluded with the BJP after we severed ties with them and are making all kinds frivolous allegations against the ruling TDP. The BJP is helping the YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy by bailing him out from the cases and he is now supporting them. None of the Opposition parties in Andhra are fighting for the special category status and they don’t criticise the BJP government at the Centre for its non-cooperation to the state. Neither are they talking about the Rafale scam.
The TRS leaders are accusing that you would oppose the irrigation projects in Telangana if the Grand Alliance comes to power?
TDP was formed for protecting the interests of Telugu speaking population. It had worked for the development of the Telangana region in general and substantially augmented the infrastructure in and around Hyderabad in particular, apart from building many large irrigation projects. TDP will continue to work for the development and welfare of the Telugu speaking states in mutual cooperation. There are well established tribunals, legal frameworks and entitlements for states on river water sharing, which will have to be honoured. It would be better in the interests of both the states that they have continuous cooperation. Disputes will only harm both.
Why do you think KCR has stepped up attack on you?
He has turned down my proposal for joining hands in the interest of both the Telugu speaking states. He wants me to wind up TDP in Telangana, which I cannot do. He seems to be annoyed that TDP has joined the Grand Alliance with the Congress against it in Telangana.