Oppn par­ties to meet on Nov 22 to dis­cuss anti-bjp plat­form: Naidu

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - FRONT PAGE - Gali Na­garaja

VIJAYAWADA: Par­ties op­posed to the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (Bjp)-led Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) at the Cen­tre will get to­gether for the first time on November 22 in an ini­tia­tive to be spear­headed by the Congress to form an al­ter­na­tive po­lit­i­cal front ahead of gen­eral elec­tions next year.

Andhra Pradesh chief min­is­ter N Chan­drababu Naidu and All In­dia Congress Com­mit­tee (AICC) gen­eral sec­re­tary Ashok Gehlot made the an­nounce­ment on Satur­day. Gehlot vis­ited Naidu at the lat­ter’s residence in Amaravati as an emis­sary of Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi to dis­cuss the specifics of the November 22 meet­ing.

“I have re­quested Rahulji to lead the ini­tia­tive as a leader of the prin­ci­pal op­po­si­tion party and he obliged,” Naidu told a joint press con­fer­ence later, adding that Andhra Bha­van in New Delhi was the likely venue.

Naidu has been play­ing a lead­ing role in ef­forts to cob­ble to­gether an al­ter­na­tive to the NDA, which he quit in March.

He had left the al­liance on be­ing de­nied spe­cial cat­e­gory sta­tus for Andhra Pradesh that would have made the state el­i­gi­ble for cen­tral grants to fund de­vel­op­ment pro­jects. This week, Naidu met Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam (DMK) leader MK Stalin, Kar­nataka chief min­is­ter HD Ku­maraswamy and his fa­ther and Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) leader HD Deve Gowda. The TDP is also part of a Congress-led op­po­si­tion al­liance that is fight­ing the up­com­ing Te­lan­gana assem­bly elec­tions.

Naidu said he will be meet­ing West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee on November 19. “I am al­ready in touch with her over phone and she will be part of the joint mis­sion,” he said.

“This is a broadly anti-bjp plat­form. This is in the in­ter­est of the na­tion,” Naidu said.

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