Naidu goes soft on 'communal BJP'
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu seems to be slowly giving up his reservations against the 'communal' Bharatiya Janata Party, despite his tough facade -- that the TDP would abstain from voting during a trust vote against the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Asked if he considered the BJP a communal party, Naidu said there were several communal forces with a secular face.
He was addressing a joint media conference after an hour-long meeting with his Jammu and Kashmir counterpart and National Conference chief Dr Farooq Abdullah and the Asom Gana Parishad's Pradip Hazarika.
The leaders decided not to pursue a path which would lead to the installation of a Congress government at the Centre.
Both Dr Abdullah and Naidu made it clear that they would not join the Vajpayee government.
The two chief ministers also asserted that they have not decided their parties's stand towards the confidence motion to be moved by Vajpayee in the Lok Sabha.
The National Conference leader revealed that it was at his
instance that the TDP fielded Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi as its candidate for the Lok Sabha Speaker's post.
''But it was my fault that I could not communicate our decision to the other UF constituents,'' said Dr Farooq. ''I had told Naidu over telephone at around 0700 hours on Tuesday that he should field a TDP candidate since no consensus was emerging on Purno A Sangma. I was flying from Srinagar to Jammu immediately and hence could not communicate our decision to the UF leaders.''
Naidu, however, said he did not inform the UF about their joint
decision since by that time he had resigned as convener, unable to bear the humiliation heaped on him by the UF.
The UF did not think it fit to inform him about their decision to field a joint candidate along with the Congress, he complained.
Asked how he -- after helping form the United Front only last year to keep the communal parties at bay -- could now bail out a BJP government, Dr Abdullah maintained that the Vajpayee government could not be described as a BJP government, as it has leaders like Ramakrishna Hegde, George Fernades, Jayalalitha and Mamata Banerjee and the Akalis as coalition partners.
Dr Abdullah, who had attended the UF steering committee
meeting earlier in the day and had talks with Naidu later on, said
there seems to be some communication gap. ''It is difficult to say
who is at fault at the moment.''
He, however, parried the question about whether this gap could be bridged.
Naidu, however, did not share Dr Abdullah's perception that
a communication gap alone had triggered the differences of
opinion between him and the UF leadership. He said some UF leaders have now chosen to be close to the Congress.
Naidu, who flew into Delhi yesterday night, drove down to Andhra Pradesh Bhavan for the conclave with Dr Abdullah and
Hazarika. The meeting ended around midnight.
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