Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu met leaders of several political parties and even allies of the BJP, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Shiromani Akali Dal, in Delhi on Tuesday to garner support for the no-confidence motion against the NDA government moved by the Telugu Desam Party.
In his first visit to the capital after pulling the plug on the alliance with BJP, Naidu held a series of meetings in the Central Hall of the Parliament and said that regional parties must join hands with the TDP to raise concerns over the “injustice” meted out by the NDA government at the Centre to states ruled by opposition parties.
Naidu also held one-on-one meetings with NC leader Farooq Abdullah, Ram Gopal Yadav from Samajwadi party, CPI’s D Raja, Venugopal from AIADMK, TRS leader Jitender Reddy and Sudip Bandhopadhyay and Derek O’brien from TMC, among several others.
The TDP chief also had discussions with Murali Manohar Joshi, Hema Malini and Jayant Sinha of the BJP and Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Veerappa Moily. TDP had earlier said that Naidu will not hold any meeting with national parties like BJP and Congress.
“The purpose of my visit is only on securing state’s interests & nothing political. I met and discussed present political scenario with various leaders, and highlighted the injustice being done. We are demanding the Centre to fulfil assurances made in Rajya Sabha including Special Category Status and provisions of AP Reorganisation Act,” he said.
The Chief Minister also handed over the booklets to the leaders, explaining how the Centre did injustice and failed to fulfill promises made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation.
In an apparent swipe at the Narendra Modi dispensation, TDP MP T G Venkatesh told reporters earlier in the day, “The chief minister is meeting key leaders in Parliament to send across a message to the country that not only making commitments, but honouring it also is very important.”
A TDP insider said Naidu had told his party MPs that he would not “beg” for a special status for Andhra Pradesh and that there was little chance of any kind of a reconciliation with the NDA.
“We all met. We discussed the issue of a special status for Andhra Pradesh. We also questioned the trustworthiness of the prime minister. We discussed how frustrating it is for Members of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh,” CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim said after meeting Naidu. He said the Left leaders assured Naidu that they supported him.
“We said we are all with him. We should all combine the issues and take on the government on the floor of the house rather than going to the well. He was very appreciative of that,” Salim said, adding that Naidu endorsed the proposal to move together.
Naidu also had a “fruitful meeting” with Trinamool Congress leaders on the opposition strategy followed in Parliament which helped the TDP garner support from other parties. “Naidu thanked the TMC for its strong support to the no-confidence motion notice brought in by the TDP,” TMC MP Derek O’Brien said.
Among the other issues discussed by Naidu and the leaders were the proposals of the 15th Finance Commission and coordination between like-minded parties.
Meanwhile, YSR Congress is gearing up to sit on an indefinite hunger strike at Andhra Bhavan after giving resignations from Lok Sabha at the end of session. The party is planning relay hunger strikes by students, party cadres and leaders across the state to mount pressure.