Chennai: Continuing his efforts to mobilise an Opposition front against the BJP-led NDA for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu met DMK President MK Stalin at his residence in Chennai on Friday. After the meeting, Naidu is reported to have said the Congress was the main anchor against the BJP. “We are all regional parties…there can be no ‘mahagathbandhan’ without the Congress,” a leading portal quoted Naidu as saying. (Also read: ‘Everything Has Collapsed Under BJP Regime,’ Says Naidu)

“We are all together in bringing parties on one platform. One or two may have differences of opinion. We (TDP) had differences with the Congress for 40 years but at the same time, we are working on how to bring together all. Democracy is important. It is for people to sink their differences. People are prepared now,” Naidu was quoted by IANS as saying.

Naidu said he had a meeting with former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Thursday and had a good meeting. “I am in touch with Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) and would be meeting her soon as part of these efforts,” he said.

Avoiding questions on who will be the face of the Opposition grouping against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said, “There are so many leaders. Even Stalinji is better than Modi. We might have differences with the Congress. But when you think of nation, national interest is of utmost importance. Everybody is joining together on one platform. Today, you are talking of individuals. I am taking of democracy. If democracy survives only then you can elect leaders. If there is no democracy, there is nothing.”

Naidu added that the TDP and Congress may have differences, “but we have to ally for national interest”. Attacking the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Naidu said democracy was in danger, with institutions such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) being compromised.

The TDP chief said the economy was in the doldrums and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement on demonetisation was “amusing” as “frauds have escaped from the country and all black money has been converted to white”.

Stalin said an “anti-national, anti-secular BJP rule needs to be stopped and Naidu has taken efforts towards that”. In the past month, Naidu has met nearly all top Opposition leaders in an attempt to bring regional parties on a platform to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.