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Nara Chandrababu Naidu confident of 3rd front coming to power at centre

Rules out tie-up with BJP

Gulf News

Hyderabad: Nara Chandrababu Naidu is once again eyeing the role of a king maker at the national level.

The Telugu Desam president and former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday exuded confidence that the third front comprising non-Congress, non-BJP parties would form the next government at the centre.

Talking to the national media in Hyderabad on Sunday, a day before the TDP’s annual conference, Mahanadu, opened for crucial discussion, Naidu said that the 2014 elections would be a repeat of 1996, 1998 and 1999 results.

“We will play a major role in the formation of a third front government”, Naidu said adding that he was already talking to the leaders of many political parties. “The process has started”, he said without elaborating or naming any party or leader.

Naidu said while the Congress-led UPA had weakened and lost credibility due to a spate of scams, the BJP led NDA had failed to pick up. “The regional parties on the other hand have become stronger and they will provide a better alternative”, he said.

He ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the BJP. “From the beginning ours was a secular party. In the past we had alliance with the BJP and extended outside support to its government at the centre. But it caused a lot of damage to us. So we will not have any tie-up with the party”, he said.

Naidu was however open to have a tie up with both the left parties CPI and CPIM at the state level.

Naidu said he was working for the formation of a third front in the interest of the country and to provide good governance to ensure faster economic development and people-friendly policies. But he ruled himself out in the role of Prime Minister. “I am not an aspirant for the post. I was never interested in it. I will be able to work out a consensus more effectively if I am not in the race”, he said.

When asked whether third front will project its own Prime Ministerial candidate against the BJP’s Narendra Modi and any candidate of Congress, Naidu said, “in present circumstances it will be a difficult task to name somebody. It will defeat the purpose. But we will try to form a pre-poll and post poll alliance and chose the leader at the suitable time.”

Targeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Naidu said he had completely lost credibility as he was heading a most corrupt regime and was keeping silent. Naming a series of scams including 2G, Common Wealth Games and coal gate, Naidu said that in all those cases it was the Supreme Court or the CAG who forced the government to act. Naidu also blamed the Manmohan Singh government’s leniency for the IPL scandal and spot fixing.

About the prospects in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu said that he was confident of returning to power with a thumping majority as the people were fed up with the scam-tainted Congress government. “The Congress rule has turned out to be disastrous for the state, its people and the economy,” he said.

He said that in public perception there was no difference between Congress and YSR Congress as both of them were responsible for creating the present mess. “Even TRS has a limited presence in Telangana and we are going to win a majority of seats even in Telangana,” he said.

Naidu demanded the immediate removal of all the state ministers facing corruption charges. “When you can remove the two central ministers on corruption charges why can’t you remove the ministers who have been charge sheeted by the CBI,” he said.

He threatened that the TDP would not allow the assembly to function if tainted ministers were not thrown out. Even after the acceptance of the resignations of two charged ministers, Naidu said that the TDP would continue to fight until the removal of five other tainted ministers.

Naidu was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1995 to 2004 and since then he has occupied the post of leader of the opposition in the state assembly. He was known as “CEO of AP” for his corporate style of functioning and his urban-development focus.