Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been rallying regional parties to form an anti-BJP front, on Monday asserted that coalition governments have done better than Narendra Modi's "one-man show" and alleged that the prime minister is "killing the leadership" in politics, bureaucracy, media and corporate world by targeting those who question him.
In an interview to PTI, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, who is eyeing the role of kingmaker at the Centre, said that any leader could be "a better prime minister than Modi" and that a PM should be "a statesman and not a narrow-minded leader like him".
"I have been in politics for 40 years. I have been part of the National Front government, the United Front, NDA, UPA.... People are always working under some ideological compulsions. Now, there is democratic compulsion too and that is Narendra Modi, who is misusing all constitutional entities," he said when asked why PM Modi has always been at the centre of his offensive against the BJP.
"He cheated the people of Andhra Pradesh. At a rally in Visakhapatnam in 2014, he promised to give special status to my state but took a U-turn after coming to power. He is a U-turn prime minister," Mr Naidu said.
The chief minister said that PM Modi "disrespected" him by not meeting the demand of special status to the state even after 29 visits to Delhi.
Mr Naidu's TDP had snapped ties with the NDA in March last year, accusing the Centre of not honouring the "promise" of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing a rally on Friday, PM Modi had alleged corruption under Mr Naidu and had taunted the TDP chief calling him "U-turn Babu" for walking out of the NDA.
Mr Naidu on Monday alleged that PM Modi has not only meted out injustice to Andhra Pradesh, but he is also "killing the leadership in politics, bureaucracy, media and corporate world by unleashing central agencies against whoever questions him".
Asked if regional parties would be able to provide a stable government, he said coalition governments in the past have done better than PM Modi.
"Modi doesn't take people along. He doesn't have confidence in others. It'' a one-man show. He is responsible for all negative things in the country. The country is bleeding and he is enjoying," Mr Naidu alleged.
A prime minister should be a magnanimous statesman and not a "narrow-minded person like Modi, who doesn't have any values", the TDP chief said.
On being asked who the primary rival of the TDP is, the BJP or Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party, Mr Naidu said he was fighting for the people of Andhra Pradesh who have been "cheated" by PM Modi on the issue of special status and alleged that the YSRCP was "colluding" with the BJP.
On the senior BJP leadership saying there is no alternative to PM Modi, Mr Naidu said, "Anybody can be a better leader than him."
To a question on opposition parties not being able to stitch a broad alliance in politically crucial states like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, he said, "People will vote for those parties that are in a position to defeat the BJP."
PM Modi has been ridiculing the proposed grand alliance of opposition parties calling it "mahamilavat'' (highly adulterated) and alleging that they had come together against him as he was acting against the corrupt.
After leaving the NDA fold, mr Naidu's TDP brought a no-confidence motion against the Modi government that was defeated in July last year. Since then, he has been on whirlwind trips across the country to bring regional parties together against the BJP.
The TDP chief has on several occasions asserted that his party has played a key role in forming governments in the past and has the power to change the political narrative in the country.
Back home, the TDP will be taking on the YSR Congress party and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled on April 11 along with polls to the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
In the 2014 elections, the TDP had won 102 of the 175 assembly seats and 15 of the Lok Sabha seats.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.