Amaravati: Strengthening his efforts to build an opposition alliance to take on the BJP, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu met with Congress president Rahul Gandhi on November 1. This is the second Delhi visit of Naidu in less than a week. Naidu is leaving no stone unturned to bring all opposition parties on a common platform. He has spoken to leaders like Arvind Kejriwal and Gandhi already.

Naidu's meeting with Rahul Gandhi is the first one after the two shared the dais at Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony in May 2018.

Earlier in March, Naidu had pulled out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). At the time, he said the policies pursued by BJP had posed a threat to democracy in the country. After meeting Gandhi, Naidu said, "This is a democratic compulsion."

Speaking to MyNation, Telangana's Congress leader, Ponnala Lakshmaiah said, "There's no surprise in this. The reorganisation bill was passed in Parliament. Earlier, Congress had promised to provide special status to Andhra Pradesh, but they could not come to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured the same, but he went back on his promise. The TDP protested against that, too. There is no choice for the two parties but to come together."

The BJP maintains that this 'unity' will not disrupt the party's victory in the Lok Sabha election of 2019. BJP national spokesman Sudesh Verma said Naidu's move smacked of "political opportunism". Verma told MyNation, “Everyone has the right to meet anyone. But, the unity of opposition without any vision will not stand a chance against the BJP. Talking of the special status Naidu has demanded, we have given Andhra Pradesh more than the special status category that it deserves. And, back then, Naidu was willing to accept that package. Since BJP is not a big force in Andhra Pradesh as of now, Naidu saw political opportunism in that. But, I am telling you, this will not affect Lok Sabha elections."

TDP MP CM Ramesh disagrees. He said, "We have to save the nation and save the democracy. With corruption in institutions like the CBI and the government not granting special status to Andhra Pradesh, it forced Naidu to get out of the NDA and join the Congress."

Life has come a full circle for Naidu. His father-in-law NT Rama Rao had formed the TDP to oust the Congress from the Telugu-speaking province (of which today's Telangana was a part). BJP says that the operative word in Naidu's statement after meeting Gandhi is "compulsion".