Naidu meets Stalin; requests Oppn to sink differences

Naidu meets Stalin; requests Oppn to sink differences

TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu is being received by DMK President M K Stalin in Chennai on Friday. (DH Photo)

Admitting that the anti-BJP parties have "differences" with each other, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday asked them to "sink their differences" and "sail together" to save the country from the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister reiterated that the Congress should anchor the coalition of parties since it has a pan-India presence and rest are just regional parties.

Speaking to reporters here after meeting DMK president M K Stalin to seek his support in Naidu's efforts to bring all parties opposed to BJP to one platform, the TDP chief refused to be drawn into the question of who will lead the alliance.

He said the anti-BJP parties have many strong leaders who are capable of leading. "Anyone will be better than Modi," he said.

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The TDP and DMK were part of the National Front and United Front governments in 1989 and 1996. Naidu secured an assurance from Stalin for committing the DMK to "save the nation and democracy from the BJP."

"He (Rahul Gandhi) is leading the Indian National Congress, which is the main Opposition party in the country. Congress has to be the anchor since it has a pan-India presence. We are all regional parties," he said in response to a question on the Congress chief's leadership.

Contending that Mamata Banerjee's TMC, the TDP and DMK are "very strong" in their respective states, Naidu said he will soon meet West Bengal Chief Minister to take forward his mission of bringing all the anti-BJP parties together.

"We (TDP) had differences with the Congress for 40 years and today we have buried our differences and come together for the sake of democracy and nation. I admit parties have differences but they have to sink their differences and sail together," he said.

His comments come in the wake of reports that many Opposition parties are not enthused with Naidu's proposal for the Congress leading the Opposition front.

Stalin said he has agreed to participate in a meeting of Opposition leaders to be held soon to take forward the initiative.

"We agreed to have a common minimum programmee — a concept that was the brainchild of my father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi," he said.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also displayed "magnanimity" by promising to Stalin that his government will continue to release water from Krishna river for drinking purposes.

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"In the future, we will also try and provide Godavari water to Tamil Nadu," he said.

'Not dreaming to be PM'

"I am neither an aspirant (for Prime Minister's post) nor the leader of the anti-BJP front. I am just a facilitator," said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu here on Friday.

Naidu was responding to a volley of questions on whether he was leading the Opposition front.

The TDP leader explained that he was neither leading the front nor aspiring to be the prime minister if the combine is in a position to form the next government in New Delhi.

Maintaining that he was just a facilitator, Naidu said all parties opposed to the BJP coming together is the need of the hour. He also criticised the BJP for "remote-controlling" the Tamil Nadu government.