Hyderabad: Securing autonomy for States on certain subjects within the purview of the federal system as well as devolution of more funds and powers to States will be focus areas of the proposed coalition of regional parties, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said in Chennai on Sunday. He insisted that leveraging the country’s economy was a must for speedy development on a par with developed nations and the proposed front will work towards this direction.
Rao, who is on a mission to stitch a coalition of non-BJP and non-Congress political forces ahead of next year’s general elections, met DMK president M Karunanidhi and working president MK Stalin. He took a special flight to Chennai to meet the DMK leadership and explain his intentions for setting up a people’s agenda.
Emerging from a luncheon meeting with Stalin at the latter’s residence in Alwarpet, the Chief Minister told waiting mediapersons that they had a fruitful meeting and agreed to work on certain issues besides consulting like-minded political parties. He felt that there was growing dissent against the Centre which was trying to meddle with State affairs.
Chandrashekhar Rao and Stalin also had a telephonic talk with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the proposed front. “We are firm on the fact that India should be secular, while the Centre should give more power to States in health, education, transport, urban and rural development sectors. The Centre should focus on subjects like external affairs and diplomacy rather than meddling with State administrations,” Chandrashekhar Rao said.
Stalin said that his party endorsed the efforts of Chandrashekhar Rao and Mamata Banerjee to bring together various parties against the BJP. “We had a discussion on politics and focused on strengthening States. There are certain parties in Tamil Nadu which have aligned with us and we will discuss KCR’s ideology with them. After a discussion with the DMK’s high level committee, we will give our response,” he added.
Rooting for a better India
Asked about the ‘Third Front’, the Chief Minister said the discussions were not about formation of a third front. “There is no third, fourth or fifth front, but an alignment of farmers and youth to make a better India and being truthful in federalism. This is not the beginning and not the end. The parties who are going to join us and who will leave us is a decision that will be taken in the future. We have been discussing and it will take two-three months to reach a consensus,” he said.
When questioned about a possible alliance with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Chandrashekhar Rao replied, “Certainly. Why would I not meet him? He is a good friend and former colleague.”