The one-day huger strike, Dharma Porata Deeksha, staged by Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telegu Desam Party (TDP) leader N Chandrababu Naidu at Delhi’s AP Bhavan on Monday, was attended by several Opposition party leaders who want to defeat the BJP.
However, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was conspicuous by its absence which indicated that Mayawati and Naidu may not be on the same page when it comes to an united Opposition. Sources told ET that BSP too was invited by senior TDP leaders to attend the protest.
In the past few months, Naidu has been trying his best to bring the Opposition parties, including the Congress, together on one platform and share ideas to fight the BJP, in case alliances in their respective states do not work out.
Monday’s protest was yet another occasion for the Opposition to join Naidu in his demand for a special status for Andhra Pradesh, and top leaders such as Congress’ Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, SP’s Mulayam Singh, Sena’s Sanjay Raut, and former PM Deve Gowda shared the stage with Naidu, but there was no one from BSP.
This is also not the first time that Mayawati has ignored Naidu. On October 27 last year, Naidu had met Mayawati at her residence in Delhi where she had expressed her displeasure over Congress’ attitude towards an alliance in states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and even raised serious concerns over any alliance between the Congress and BSP.
BSP believes that Naidu is close to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, which may bring the two parties closer, something that Mayawati doesn’t like, said sources. Naidu had also called a mee ting of the Opposition parties on December 10 last year, a day before the Assembly elections results were announced, but both BSP and SP avoided that meeting. It was understood then that Mayawati wanted to see the election results before making her move.
But BSP has been attending meetings organized by other parties; BSP leader and MP Satish Chandra Misra, for instance, attended West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s rally on January 19 in Kolkata. The also participated in Save the Nation, Save the Democracy meetings organized by Congress on February 1in Delhi.
“There could be some communication gap, but there are no issue between us,” Chandrababu Naidu told ET. “We will discuss the matter in the national interest.”
Efforts are now on to make sure that BSP attends the protest rally called by Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday. Naidu had been personally calling the leaders of all parties to thank them for their support and would also urge the BSP to join tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) protest.
Naidu left for Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday evening and will be back again on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the Jantar Mantar protest rally. BSP spokespersons refused to talk about their absence from Naidu’s protest.