Naidu and Rahul Gandhi
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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu met Rahul Gandhi Thursday. Both the leaders said that they are joining hands to “save the nation and defend the democracy”.

ThePrint asks Chandrababu Naidu-Rahul Gandhi meet: Self-interest or opposition finally uniting against Modi?

One thing is certain – BJP government needs to be defeated

Priyanka Chaturvedi
National spokesperson, Indian National Congress

It is extremely unfortunate that such a historic moment is being seen as driven by self-interest. The people of Andhra Pradesh feel cheated by the central government. A similar pattern can be seen across the states – whether it is a matter of farmer distress, or questions on women safety, the Modi government has failed on all accounts, rather spectacularly.

You have the Prime Minister himself refusing to answer questions on the Rafale deal, a PM who has exhibited disregard for all renowned institutions of India and one who has waged a war against intellectuals and bureaucrats of the country. This is also the first time in Indian politics that senior judges of the Supreme Court have come in the open and voiced fears about the future of Indian democracy. The RBI director was sent on compulsory leave, there is a war taking place within the CBI. This is an arrogant government and what we see today is a result of that arrogance. It is a government which came to power on false promises and later termed it a “jumla”.

We are standing at the precipice of history— how can the opposition parties not speak up? We must get together and speak in the interest of the nation. Even former allies of the ruling party feel disgruntled against the BJP. This is only a government for the suited-booted, not for the common person.

The one thing that is certain is that this is an unconstitutional government, and a government that needs to be defeated.

So far, the mahagathbandhan is not even a gathbandhan

Nalin Kohli
National spokesperson, BJP

The ‘third’ front or a ‘national’ front or a ‘federal’ front has been an idea in the making for several decades now. Even today there is no clarity on who will be the constituents of this front or what will be its ideology, where it will be located, or what will be its political agenda. Moreover, other important questions are whether it will include the Congress or exclude it, or will it be equidistant from the BJP and the Congress?

People have referred to it as the mahagathbandhan, but so far it is not even a gathbandhan. It can only be seen as a photo op alliance – an anti-Modi plank cannot be an agenda of governance and political activity. As and when any clarity emerges, one can make a more detailed comment.

With regards to the TDP, beyond the fact that it has been in alliance with the BJP, perhaps its leadership would like to reflect on whether its founder N.T. Rama Rao would ever have approved of engaging with the Congress for a joint political alliance. Rao was unequivocally the anti-Congress alternative. Today, the TDP seems to have come a full circle to disregard the rationale for its formation i.e. its anti-Congress stance.

Naidu-Rahul meet signifies 2 things: ‘Political without politics’ and ‘ideology without ideas’

Hilal Ahmed
Associate professor, CSDS

The meeting of Chandrababu Naidu and Rahul Gandhi underlines two important trajectories of contemporary Indian politics. The first trajectory may be described as “political without politics”.

Naidu was under pressure because as a regional party, the TDP wanted to have some sort of a coalition with a national party. After all, that has always been a norm of coalition politics in India – regional parties require a national party which can provide a workable framework for a coalition. The UPA and the NDA were examples of this kind of a coalition.

However, this political alignment between Naidu and Rahul does not have any serious imagination of alternative politics. Naidu will be making exactly the same kind of adjustment that he did when he was previously involved with the BJP/NDA. One should not expect any new form of politics to emerge out of this. Therefore, it is legitimate to describe this meeting or the proposed coalition as “political without politics”.

The second trajectory that this meeting signifies can be called “ideology without ideas”.

There is a possibility that Naidu and Rahul may give a name to the proposed coalition. They may call it ‘democratic’, if not ‘secular’. This is precisely what Naidu said. He called the meeting was a “democratic compulsion”.

Such naming signifies intellectual apathy of non-BJP parties. The Hindutva vs secularism binary is certainly not going to work as the Congress is itself keen on imbibing Hindutva politics. Similarly, the progressive vs nationalist binary is also a very weak proposition as the BJP has completely appropriated the nationalist discourse.

Also read: TDP alleges ‘conspiracy by Modi’ after non-bailable warrant is issued against Naidu

All opposition parties need to come together and save democracy

C.M. Ramesh

Today we are witnessing a rather strange situation in the country. The concept of India is being misused and vested interests are taking undue advantage of the circumstances. Communal occurrences across the country are beginning to threaten the secularism of the nation.
The need of the hour is for all the opposition parties to come together and save democracy. We need to protect our nation and our institutions from undue interference. This is the commitment of the TDP as well.
A national alliance against the BJP-led NDA looks promising. But given the diversity of our country and multiplicity of parties, alliances need to be worked out at the state level.

There have to be regular meetings of party leaders whose commitment to take on the BJP is unequivocal. United oppositions need to mobilise public opinion against the BJP in the run up to the 2019 elections. The aim is to garner support for preserving the Indian Constitution and culture, since these are under threat ever since the present government came to power at the Centre.

The initiative taken by Chandrababu Naidu is laudable and is a step in the right direction.

(This is an updated version of the author’s commentary.)

By merely relying on optics, Opposition giving Modi-Shah ammunition to paint it opportunistic

Ruhi Tewari
Associate editor, ThePrint

As the cliché goes, there are no permanent foes or companions in politics. And the sudden Rahul Gandhi-Chandrababu Naidu bonhomie goes to prove just that. This is a crucial time for the opposition to forge an alliance that can, despite its differences and contradictions, hope to bring the Narendra Modi-led BJP down. Naidu’s meetings with a slew of opposition party leaders, including Rahul, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury and Mulayam Singh Yadav, reflect this very desperation – the need to move fast and move far.

However, the opposition’s desire to unite against Modi is as much about self-preservation and self-interest as it is about taking on the Prime Minister. The Naidu-Rahul meet is a manifestation of the same desire. Their self-interest and uniting against Modi are not an either-or situation, and instead complement each other.

Opposition parties, particularly the Congress, realise it is in their interest to see Modi defeated, and prevent an already powerful leader from consolidating his hold. And for this, a coalition of key players is a must.

These parties believe that whether or not these alliances finally come through, it is in their interest to show that they are at least attempting to come together to push the BJP into a corner and make it jittery. The Rahul-Naidu meet is evidently part of the same strategy.

However, by taking so long to forge something concrete and by merely relying on optics of handshakes, opposition parties – particularly the Congress – are simply giving the crafty Modi-Shah combine enough time to prepare ammunition against them and portray these parties as being unsure and opportunistic.

By Fatima Khan, journalist at ThePrint. You can follow her on twitter @khanthefatima

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8 Comments Share Your Views


  1. This Ghatbandhan is more an alliance of the Failed leaders of various outfits. It is unlikely that their cadre is with them, except for a few thousands from each outfit, who have been paid to support these nincompoop leaders. When the elections come these leaders will have to cough up more to get elected, like they have done in the bi-polls. This was possible in the small scale, but with their dwindling funds and no support from the industry, whom they have antagonized, there is every likelihood of them failing to make the mark. Of course there are a whole lot of the public, who have been affected by the DEMO, may vote against BJP candidates as a sign of protest. This possibly will enable these Anti- Modi outfits to reach a respectable score, but short of winning the race.

  2. The title of this discussion is thoughtless. If and when opposition unites against Modi, it will be propelled only by the self interest of each constituent of the alliance.

  3. It is a fight between truth and jhoot. When a state was divided against majority opinion in assembly, undemocratically and irrationally, bifurcation act was passed in parliament and few verbal, written assurances was given to compensate the economic losses and imbalance.
    After that new govt comes to power in centre. Instead of implementing the act and fulfulling the assurances, BJP lead central govt finds loopholes in written act to escape from their responsibility, doesn’t honour the previous PM’s commitment on the floor of the house, when state govt retaliates, BJP starts mud-slinging against state govt and TDP who were allies for 4 years. Unfortunately, everything is being looked into with political eye-glasses in this country. Fight between TDP vs BJP is not for politics. It is about Parliamentary accountability and responsibility.
    BJP has majority that doesn’t mean they are on the path of Dharma and Truth. Don’t say former govt passed the bill so BJP has no responsibility. BJP was an ally to Congress in passing the bill and now they are in power for last 4 years. This is just not a regional issue. This is a national issue about how much democracy really prevails in the great Indian Parliament. This can happen to any state. Only those people who lost results of 50-60 years of hard work and suddenly became poor in one single day will understand the collective pain of people of Andhra. It is not individual pain of any one single person. It is parliament which is responsible for this.

    • Your are correct, Congress has no majority in Rajya sabha at the time of passing AP reorganisation bill, MR Venkaih naidu and Arun Jaitley sought for 10 yrs special status when then PM Manmohan singh promised for 5 years. immediately after coming to power PM Modi and gone back on his promise which he has made under the foot of Lord Venkateswara in Tirupati. Seeing Venkaih naidu’ support to AP Modi and Shah has sidelined him to make him VP, so that BJP can grow in AP without TDP. Chandrababu has understood the cunning plan of two powerful gujarati babus and thought of giving an opportunity to congress to rectify its mistake of dividing AP in haste and do justice by giving Special Package if it comes to power. The AP people will support this decision and welcome TDP’s decision to align with Congress if they get special package further TDP will be in power for another 10 years if they get special package and fulfill dream capital of AP at Amaravathi Naidu is intelligent politician to think of these benefits and congress may take long time before they try to get back as a force in AP and first they may try to get power in Telangana with TDP support.

  4. It’s a survival instinct… TDP doesn’t want to be in a position as SP, BSP and RJD is today. Rahul Gandhi doesn’t seem mature enough to compete as a normal leader, forget about holding PM’s office. Coming together of all the past enemies all around the country is only to secure some value in their existence. I predict in 10 years from now, regional parties will be dessimated if they do not come together at national level.

  5. Rahul Gandhi Didn’t Know The Popularity, Affection, Adulation Modi Has Among Voters Of India.He Is Misled By Few People That Modi Is Not Popular Among People.But In Fact Modi Has Huge Popularity Among Poor Who Were Benefited From His Social Benefit Policies Like Mudra Yojana,Free Lpg,Free Houses,Free Health Insurance Of 5 Lakh Etc.Rahul Gandhi Loses His Image Of A Leader By False Accusations As Whole India Accepted The Fact That Modi Is Not Corrupt.Rahul Gandhi Ought To Have Supported Modi In His Attempts To Wipe Out Poverty From India And Earn Goodwill Of People But Instead Of A Good Opposition Leader He Became A Enemy Of Modi Which Is Disliked By Voters.Now All People Thinks Of Rahul Gandhi As A Enemy Of Nation When He Talks Il Of Indian Army Security Forces And India.Modi May Have Many Faults But He Is Duly Elected By People With A Majority Vote And Empowered To Rule For 5 Years.He Will Go To Voters In April-May’2019 For Votes And In That Period He Will Show Case His Credibility To Voters Which Cannot Be Marred By Any Opposition Leader.The Opinion Polls And Credibility Meters Are False ,Fake ,Forged,Fabricated As Proved In Past.C-Voters Has Conducted Polls In Up Which Will Help Bjp In Next 6 Months.Bjp Will Plug All Loopholes In Due Time.Hope Ram Temple Issue Will Favour Bjp All Over India.Sabarimala Issue Helps Bjp In South India.Hindu Who Were Secular In Nature Now Coming Back To Hardcore Hindutva When They Face Existential Crisis In South.In North Muslim Arrogance Hegemony And Belligerence Will Make Hindu More Energized Polarized Consolidated United To Back Modi Like They Did In 2014.Future Of Congress Is Very Dark Under A Misguided Old Youth Rahul Gandhi.

  6. This is NOT a ‘Democratic’ compulsion. This is a ‘LOSERS’ compulsion”. Naidu is very very desperate. Having burnt his bridges with the BJP, he is politically adrift and is now scared of YSR Jagan, who has the potential to upset Naidu’s apple cart, and probably will; voters in the present AP state cannot forgive the Congress for the summary, abrupt and unprepared manner of the cutting up of the erstwhile composite state. His alliance with Congress will not get their approval. As for Rahul’s Congress, it is in no better situation, itself having fallen from 206 to 44, and unable to get ANY other opposition party to accept Rahul’s pretensions of competence and suitability for being the next PM. Congress now will gladly embrace ANY other party willing to ally with it, even the Left, as long as that increases , even slightly, the votes for its candidates. But, they are only concentrating on the ‘Arithmetic’, not the ‘Chemistry’. 2 +2 NEVER made 4, in electoral politics. This alliance, as well as the MGB for which it is supposed to be the launch pad, is bound to FAIL.


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