Former convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday shared the dais with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, fuelling speculation that both the parties are keen to work together again.

The Telugu Desam Party, which broke ranks with the NDA in 2005, is looking to gain some importance at the Centre. Its strategy now is to keep all options open. Naidu also met CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, and BJP president Rajnath Singh last week.

Naidu and Modi addressed a function organised by the Citizens for Accountable Governance here on Wednesday. Comparing the NDA and UPA Governments, Naidu said the benefits of good governance by successive non-Congress Governments at the Centre were reaped by the UPA until 2009.

Heaping praise on the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-Government, Naidu said the NDA Government made path-breaking achievements in education, employment generation and overall management of the economy. Naidu said NDA did a commendable job in creating jobs and building infrastructure.

“Sarva Siksha Abhiyan was the largest educational programme since Independence with an outlay of Rs 16,000 crore in 2000. A Ministry for youth and sports affairs was created at the Government of India level in 2000. But, can anybody guess India’s current growth rate today?” he asked, adding that poor fiscal management and corruption had hampered the India growth story.

The BJP, on its part, has claimed that the NDA will soon be expanded.

The TDP, which has faced several electoral setbacks since 2004 is facing an organisational crisis after the Centre’s decision to form a separate Telangana State.

Though BJP and TDP were not ready to attribute any political importance to the leaders sharing the dais, Naidu’s speech, praising the NDA’s ‘development models’, is seen as an open invitation to the BJP to build an alliance.

Incidentally, another Andhra Pradesh leader, YSR Congress Party’s Jagan Mohan Reddy also praised Modi’s administrative skills recently, but said that secularism was most important for his party.

(This article was published on October 2, 2013)
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