At a time the Cauvery dispute has triggered massive protests in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, water issues came up during the talks.
"He is going around states for the formation of the people's front. Delivery of some programmes by the UPA and NDA were not wholly satisfying. He gave the example of poor water resource management -- so much water just flows into the sea. I agree," Mr Deve Gowda, 85, told TheIndianSubcontinent.
Mr Rao, who has already met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over the proposed political alternative, said the Congress and BJP that have ruled the country for over 65 years have "miserably failed".
"Why should there be a fight between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for Cauvery water. Why was the issue kept pending for seven decades? Was 65 years not enough to solve the problem?" he said after the meeting.
Wary that several attempts earlier by others to cobble up a "third front" involving parties with contrary political views have failed, Mr Rao sought to put public issues at the heart of his initiative."This is not a silly political front. This will be an alignment of the masses of India. We will have a big agenda for farmers before 2019. Let us try and deliver something great in India," said Mr Rao.
With the Congress and the BJP going full throttle for the assembly elections scheduled in Karnataka next month, the TRS leader made a pitch for Mr Deve Gowda's party. "I appeal to all Telugu-speaking people in Karnataka to vote for JD(S)".
Asked who the JD(S) would support in case of no party getting a clear majority in the polls, Mr Deve Gowda wasn't forthcoming. "Please wait for one month, you will see how the JD(S) will move forward," he told TheIndianSubcontinent.The campaign for the assembly polls has already been bitter, with allegations of corruption and communalism levelled by the BJP and Congress against each other.
"I don't want to stoop to that level. As a former Prime Minister, I must maintain decency while speaking on a public platform," said Mr Deve Gowda.