Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said his party would work with the Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to “defend democracy and the future of the country”, ANI reported. The “principal idea here is to defeat the BJP”, Gandhi said after his meeting with Naidu and TDP parliamentarians Jayadev Galla and CM Ramesh.

“We are coming together, to save the nation,” Naidu said. “We have to forget the past, now it is a democratic compulsion to unite. All Opposition needs to be one.”

The two leaders discussed Opposition unity, said Gandhi. “I look forward to carrying forward our dialogue and to working together in the upcoming and general elections,” he added.

Later in the evening, Naidu met Samajwadi Party leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Earlier in the afternoon, Naidu met Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah in New Delhi. He also held talks with senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. “We decided to meet in Delhi to chalk out a plan to protect the future of the nation,” ANI quoted the TDP chief as saying after meeting Pawar and Abdullah.

“Political compulsions” will force non-BJP parties to come together to form a third front, Naidu had said last week.

Naidu, who quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in March, has tied up with the Congress to contest the Assembly elections in Telangana on December 7. At a party event in Amaravati on Wednesday, Naidu had said the policies pursued by the BJP posed a threat to democracy in the country, IANS reported. “I have taken the responsibility to save the country from this threat,” he had said. “It is the duty of all to save the country.”

Naidu had last week met Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, Loktantrik Janata Dal chief Sharad Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha in the national Capital.

After the meeting on Thursday, Sharad Pawar said that institutions like the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and the Reserve Bank of India were under assault in the country, The Print reported. “If we collectively work to save democracy, we can save the institutions also,” he said.

Last month, Pawar had said that a national Opposition alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was unlikely. But he added that he was trying to bring parties opposed to the BJP together on a common platform.