TDP, AGP join hands to float new political forum

The regional Asom Gana Parishad president and two-time chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has joined hands with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to form an independent forum of regional political parties which will be maintaining a “safe distance” from pro-Congress regional forces, like Janata Dal United and Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar.

Informing that they intend to hold discussion and rope in all regional parties that are opposed to the ruling Congress, Mr Mahanta told this newspaper, “The TDP and AGP have agreed to explore the possibility of forming a platform of regional parties in the run up to the forthcoming Parliament election to make their presence felt in the national politics.”
Refusing to identify themselves as third front, Mr Mahanta said, “We had a formal discussion today at Taj Mansingh Hotel in New Delhi and decided to have the first meeting of regional political parties of northeastern states in Guwahati on October 17 and 18 in which Mr Naidu will be present.”
He also pointed out that the idea is to strengthen non-Congress regional parties. Mr Mahanta, however, clarified that they are not thinking to approach RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav and JDU of Nitish Kumar into the forum because of their proximity with the Congress party.
Mr Mahanta, who has been working hard to revive the AGP, said that Mr Naidu would also be addressing a meeting of AGP workers in Guwahati on October 18.
When asked about Mr Naidu’s meeting with BJP president Rajnath Singh, Mr Mahanta said, “The TDP is not the part of NDA.” He, however, refused to name the other regional political parties that have also shown their interest in forming the alliance of regional political parties. “We will announce it formally in the first formal meeting of the forum next month in Guwahati,” said Mr Mahanta, who with Mr Naidu had played a key role in formation of United Front government at the centre.
The senior AGP leaders Ramendra Narayan Kalita, Utpal Dutta and Dhrubajyoti Sarma were present in the meeting with Mr Naidu.

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