iconimg Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 06, 2014
It was not easy for the BJP and the TDP to join hands again after a break for 10 years. The pre-poll alliance between the two parties for the Lok Sabha (LS) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) assembly elections comes after intensive negotiations for more than a month. After losing the assembly polls and parting ways with the BJP-led NDA in 2004, the TDP saw the alliance as an opportunity to dethrone the Congress in AP – especially since the BJP is riding high on the hype around its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

To begin with, BJP wanted 18 of the 42 LS seats and nearly 100 of the 294 assembly seats. But TDP felt it didn't match BJP's strength on the ground.

The BJP was torn between its units in Telangana and Seemandhara. Its Telangana unit wanted to fight alone and, if needed, explore an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). While BJP's Seemandhara unit was comfortable with a TDP alliance, it wanted to more seats in the assembly.

Sharing seats with the BJP in Telangana was not an issue. The TDP was nearly ready to concede a couple of extra LS seats in Seemandhara, but its chief Chandrababu Naidu wanted a lion's share in the assembly.

The deal reached a deadlock last week and BJP's top leadership authorised its Telangana unit to explore an alliance with TRS. This made TDP panicky and it returned to the negotiation table.

Then the BJP came up with another formula – one third of the total 42 Lok Sabha seats (14) and 65 assembly seats. Naidu agreed for the LS but wasn't willing to concede 25 assembly seats in Seemandhara.

Finally, both parties settled on this seat-sharing formula – BJP to contest five LS and 15 assembly seats in Seemandhra, and eight LS and 47 assembly seats in Telangana.