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Naidu steps up efforts for 3rd Front, meets opposition leaders

Last updated on: May 18, 2019 22:02 IST

IMAGE: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu meets NCP chief Sharad Pawar in New Delhi on Saturday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu held a flurry of meetings with opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, in an apparent bid to rally support for a non-Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.

Naidu, who arrived in the national capital on Friday, also met Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav and leaders of the Communist Party of India.

IMAGE: Naidu leaves after meeting Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter's residence in New Delhi. Photograph: Ravi Choudhary/PTI Photo

He then flew to Lucknow and met SP and BSP chiefs.

‘It is a pleasure to welcome Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri N Chandrababu Naidu Ji to Lucknow,’ Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.

The Andhra Pradesh chief minister did not speak to the media after any of his meetings.

IMAGE: AP CM with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow. Photograph: Kind courtesy @yadavakhilesh/Twitter

Sources, however, said Naidu and Gandhi discussed the possibility of forming a joint alliance of all opposition parties.

He told Gandhi to have a strategy ready, in case the National Democratic Alliance falls short of a majority and still stakes claim to form the government, the sources said.

Naidu told all the leaders that ‘we all should come together and put our act together’ to form the next government by keeping the BJP out, a source said.

IMAGE: After meeting Akhilesh, Naidu went to meet BSP chief Mayawati. BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra is also seen. Photograph: ANI

Later, Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders met at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's residence to evolve their party's strategy.

"The campaigning of this Lok Sabha Election 2019 has ended and as we await the last phase of polling, Andhra Pradesh CM Shri N Chandrababu Naidu paid me a visit to discuss the ongoing and future political scenario of our country," Pawar said in a tweet after the meeting at his residence.

Naidu met CPI leader G Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja over breakfast, asking them to ‘come together’.

Reddy and Raja separately met Pawar at his residence.

IMAGE: Naidu meets Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Telugu Desam Party chief has held several rounds of discussion with various opposition leaders, including TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal and Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Naidu's TDP was a part of the NDA, but quit the alliance a few months ago.

On Friday, Naidu said not only the Telangana Rashtra Samiti but any outfit which is against the BJP is welcome to join a grand alliance after the election results are declared on May 23.

As opposition leaders scramble to form a joint anti-BJP front, hectic deliberations among them are likely to continue in the days ahead.

IMAGE: Naidu with CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Photograph: PTI Photo

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular leader H D Kumaraswamy urged Congress and his party members to not give controversial statements against each other.

‘We are on the verge of formation of a new government at the Centre. At this juncture where all efforts are being made to form a non-BJP government at the Centre, the contradictory statements by leaders of coalition partners may mar such efforts,’ he tweeted.

IMAGE: The TDP chief meets Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Photograph: PTI Photo

‘Hence, my humble request to the leaders of both the parties is to restrain from making contradictory- controversial statements in public and to support the cause,’ Kumaraswamy said.

Former prime minister and JD-S leader H D Deve Gowda said they are all together with the Congress in forming the next government.

There has been a war of words between the Congress and its alliance partners JD-S in Karnataka for some time now.

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