Former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu and Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday announced that they are joining hands against the NDA in order to 'save the nation and save democracy' ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. They said they are in talks with leaders of major state and national parties to form a coalition, and also made numerous references to the United Front governments of the late nineties.
Deve Gowda, whose party in alliance with the Congress won 4-1 seats against the BJP in the bypolls for Lok Sabha and state seats this week, placed responsibility on the Congress to form the Mahagatbandhan as 'it has strength on ground'. He also championed Chandrababu Nadu as someone taking the lead in bringing leaders of major parties together. "Congress should cooperate (to form the coalition), it has a great responsibility and naturally has got major strength even though they have lost in 17 states against BJP. But in other states Congress will do well, especially in MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh," he said.
"NDA rule from last four years, two months under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi s saab created so many problems including destabilising certain Constitution-created institutions. Now it is the responsibility of all secular parties including Congress and to come together to replace the NDA government," Gowda added.
Stating that Naidu has been in talks with several leaders, the trio said that they believe that a repeat of the success of the 1996 coalition government under Deve Gowda can happen next year. "CM Chandrababu Naiduji took the lead and met Rahul Gandhi, and met other regional leaders like Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, DMK leader MK Stalin. He has contacted me several times. He is doing his best to remove NDA government, to the consolidate all secular parties in order to end NDA rule in 2019," said Gowda.
Speaking about the scale and the ambition of the coalition, Kumaraswamy said, "I think 1996 is going to be repeated in 2019. "
Naidu said he felt betrayed as that the NDA did not keep its promise to accord special status for Andhra Pradesh nor did it implement all provisions of the bifurcation act for his state. "They have betrayed us, they showed that in Karnataka elections also even they did not implement special status and also all provisions in bifurcation act they did not implement. I gave an ultimatum and withdrew support and ultimately my ministers quit."
Speaking about their plan-of-action with regarding the 2019 polls, Kumaraswamy added that Mamata Banerjee will hold a political rally in January while CM Naidu will organise a rally for farmers in the same month.