‘I am disappointed by all political parties; they have all let down the people of Andhra Pradesh,’ TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu tells Rediff.com’s Anita Katyal
Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu is a disappointed man today.
He had lobbied hard against the division of Andhra Pradesh and the former chief minister had relied on the Bharatiya Janata Party to block the passage of the Telangana Bill in Parliament.
The BJP's decision to back the bill has put a question mark on the budding relationship between the saffon party and the TDP, which was expected to fructify into an alliance for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
After he was left stranded by the BJP, Naidu took indirect potshots at the saffron party, but remained non-committal about the future of the proposed BJP-TDP electoral pact.
Speaking to rediff.com soon after the passage of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, a grim-looking Naidu said he had expected the BJP to focus its attention on the concerns of the people of the Seema-Andhra region, but its members did not raise a single issue in this regard when the bill was put to vote in the Lok Sabha.
Hitting out the Congress for adopting "undemocratic and unconstitutional" methods to push through the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha, Naidu also took an indirect dig at the BJP for supporting the United Progressive Alliance in passing the legislation.
"It was the duty and responsibility of the main opposition party to fight for justice for both the Telangana and Seema-Andhra regions, but the BJP did not rise to the occasion," he said.
Naidu refused to respond to repeated queries about whether he was feeling letdown by the BJP and about the future of TDP's alliance with the saffron party.
But the bitter leader asked, "Did the BJP raise any of the demands of the people of Seema-Andhra? Is this the way of dealing with such a situation?"
Continuing in the same vein, the TDP chief said, "Is it not the duty of the Congress and the BJP to render justice to the people of both Telangana and Seema-Andhra? They cannot exploit the sentiments of the people."
Naidu added that the BJP should have raised the concerns of the people of Seema-Andhra since the Congress had clearly “humiliated” them.
"I am disappointed by all political parties, they have all let down the people of Andhra Pradesh," he added.
Naidu had reportedly been in talks with the BJP to forge an alliance for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He had understandably hoped that the saffron party would derail the Telangana Bill in Parliament.
The TDP chief had met most BJP leaders, including the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in the last few weeks to seek their support in his opposition to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
In fact, Naidu was confident that the BJP would endorse his stance to ensure an electoral pact with the TDP.
Although the TDP chief did not say so openly, his colleagues maintained that it will be difficult for the party to align with the BJP in the forthcoming elections, after the latter went back on its promise to them and supported the Telangana Bill.
Naidu, however, refused to spell out his future course of action.
"I am not bothered about alliances. I am more concerned about my people. I will seek their opinion and abide by their wishes. After all, I cannot go against the wishes of my people," the TDP chief said.
Naidu was equally evasive about the possibility of the TDP joining the Third Front, especially since most of its constituents, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal-United and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have strongly opposed the division of Andhra Pradesh.
Reacting cautiously to a query on whether he will join the proposed anti-Congress, anti-BJP front, he said, "I have been in touch with leaders from the Left Front. They said they would support me as they have always been in favour of a united Andhra Pradesh.”
Though he exercised restraint in his comments about the BJP, Naidu did not hold back when it came to attacking the Congress.
Hitting out the Grand Old Party, the TDP chief alleged, "The Congress is playing a game of divide and rule. Instead of doing justice to the people of both regions, the Congress is trying to create a divide, like the one between India and Pakistan."
The Congress, claimed Naidu, had played with the sentiments of the people and agreed to the formation of Telangana purely for political gain.
The TDP chief explained that he had not taken sides on this issue so far and had always acted neutral because he wanted to ensure that justice was done to the people of both regions.
"I have always said that the government should have called the stakeholders of all regions and forged a consensus. But the Centre did not do so," he said, adding that instead, the UPA government had pushed through the Bill without following due procedures.