File photo of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. Photograph:( ANI )
Currently, there is no credible alternative leader to lead the pack of Opposition parties to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After Mamata Banerjee, another Opposition's warrior has stepped up efforts to unite anti-BJP forces ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019.
Over the past few weeks, Naidu met several opposition leaders and gave some brazen statements against the ruling party. He said that it's the responsibility of opposition leaders to defeat the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and save the democracy.
Most importantly, Naidu dropped his 'non-Congress Third Front' plank and met party president Rahul Gandhi. Both the leaders stressed on the need for Opposition unity to save the nation. They maintained it's a democratic compulsion for the TDP and Congress to come together setting aside their differences.
Furthermore, Naidu also met West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, his son and chief minister of Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy and DMK chief MK Stalin to put up united face against the BJP.
Asserting that the nation is under threat, the TDP chief has convened a meeting of the Opposition leaders in December to discuss future strategies to defeat the BJP in 2019 elections.
Naidu had pulled out of the NDA in March this year over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.
A few days ago, Mamata Banerjee was running from pillar to post to unite the opposition, but now Chandrababu Naidu is racing ahead of her. However, they both are in sync with each other to achieve their common goal - demolishing BJP.
The two interlocutors - Naidu and Mamata, have been trying to stitch an anti-BJP alliance for quite some time now. They have made communalism, attack on institutions like RBI, CBI and economic crisis under the NDA-rule as main grounds to garner the support of the Opposition parties.
The 'Third Front' could be a definite possibility in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and several state elections prove it quite clearly. In Uttar Pradesh bypolls, Samajwadi Party, backed by the BSP, defeated the BJP in Phulpur and Gorakhpur constituency.
In 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, the Saffron party met a similar fate when Congress and JD(S) formed a coalition government in the state despite BJP emerging as the single largest party.
Moreover, in the recent Karnataka bypolls, the ruling coalition - JDS-Congress stunned BJP by winning both the Assembly seats and two of the three Lok Sabha seats. This came as a morale booster for the Opposition in the run-up to 2019 Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, in another significant development, PDP, with the support of Congress and National Conference, has staked claim to form the government in Jammu and Kashmir. This is an important realignment of political forces in the state wherein NC and PDP have set aside their rivalry to take on the BJP.
It seems there is no competition among the opposition leaders for declaring the face of Opposition (at least for now). Acting wisely, Naidu has chosen to go along with Mamata Banerjee on this, and after a round of talks both the leaders announced - "Everyone will be the face of Mahagathbandhan."
Senior Opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah have authorised Naidu to speak to various state leaders to bring all anti-BJP forces together. The TDP chief has reportedly assured them of convincing Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati to become part of the 'Grand Secular Alliance' against the saffron party.
Currently, there is no credible alternative leader to lead the pack of anti-BJP forces. With major Opposition parties singing in chorus against the BJP, 'Third Front' is no more a distant dream.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)