Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had a brief meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday morning, in what is being seen as a pre poll alliance discussion.
Naidu met Rahul Gandhi at his residence for about 15 minutes. While neither Naidu nor Rahul Gandhi spoke to the media after the meeting, it is believed that the two leaders met to discuss the possibility of an alliance of non-BJP parties and the Congress once the election results are announced on May 23.
Last week, Naidu had told the media that leaders of the non-BJP front would meet on May 21 in New Delhi to arrive at a consensus on a Prime Ministerial candidate.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Naidu said that he did not aspire to be the PM as he wanted to focus on Andhra Pradesh. While there doesn’t seem to be a consensus among the oppositions parties over a PM candidate yet, Naidu said in the interview that “every leader in the Opposition is as strong or better than Narendra Modi.”
Observers also say that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief seems to be upping the ante as his bete-noire Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has also begun an attempt to drum up support for his proposal of a Federal Front; a consortium of non-Congress and non-BJP regional parties.
Earlier this week, KCR met Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and also spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on the issue over the phone. Naidu, however, dismissed KCR’s efforts in his HT interview, indicating that an anti-BJP alliance without the support of the Congress was not possible.
Naidu was in Delhi for a hearing on the review petition filed by 21 oppositions parties seeking to increase VVPAT verifications to 50% of the EVMs, which was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Monday.
Following his meeting with the Congress chief, Naidu left to meet his West Bengal counterpart and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. Besides meeting Mamata, Naidu is expected to attend her party’s rallies on Thursday and Friday and campaign for her. In the run-up to the Andhra Pradesh polls, Mamata was among several leaders who visited the state to urge people to vote for Naidu.