The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Monday was lukewarm to BJP leader Narendra Modi’s appeal on Sunday to “rid the country of Congress rule as envisioned by its (TDP’s) founder NT Rama Rao”, though the party described his views as “true”.
“We do not see Modi’s appeal as (one) for a political alliance. Right now, we are busy with the Telangana issue,” TDP politburo member Yenamala Ramakrishnudu told HT.
The TDP, with 30 MPs then, was the principal supporter of the NDA (from 1999 to 2004). During the period, party chief N Chandrababu Naidu was the Andhra Pradesh chief minister.
The coalition had benefited the BJP hugely in Andhra Pradesh, where it is a very small player. The party won seven seats in 1999, something it never got before or after.
“NTR did great service to the nation by grouping against the Congress. A true tribute to the leader would be making the country Congress-free. It becomes the responsibility of the TDP to fulfil his vision,” Modi said at the youth rally.
However, Modi’s call could tempt the TDP, which has done well in the just-concluded panchayat elections, with the party coming a close second to the Congress.
But the Congress’s Telangana decision has put the TDP in trouble. Though its cadre in Telangana is intact, the TDP fears the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and Congress will sweep the 2014 elections.
A day before Modi’s comments, Errabelli Dayakar Rao, a TDP leader from Telangana, said the party was debating an alliance with the BJP. “Modi’s popularity among the youth could benefit each other,” Rao reportedly said.