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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Andhra Pradesh: Telangana BJP stalled TDP tie-up

Prasad Nichenametla , Hindustan Times  Hyderabad, April 02, 2014
First Published: 00:15 IST(2/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:30 IST(2/4/2014)

It was in August last year that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narendra Modi, addressing a rally in Hyderabad, reached out to the Telegu Desam Party (TDP), reminding the party of the agenda of its founder N T Rama Rao – throwing the Congress out of power.

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And in December, when TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu was seen hobnobbing with top BJP leaders at the swearing-in ceremony of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal, it was thought that the TDP-BJP alliance in Andhra Pradesh was a done deal.

Three-and-a-half months since then, the two parties are reaching an agreement with hardly a week left for nominations to end for the first of the two-phase polls in the state.

Both parties wanted to benefit from each other and expected a repeat of 1999 where the TDP-BJP alliance bagged 36 of the 42 seats in the state. The BJP alone got an unprecedented seven seats. It didn't get a single seat in the last two Lok Sabha elections.

Then what delayed the deal down to the wire?

To begin with, the dynamics of AP politics shifted greatly after the Telangana bill was passed in Parliament in February.

The Telangana BJP leaders, prominently its president, Kishan Reddy, and some RSS functionaries opposed the alliance as the TDP is seen as a Seemandhra party.

They insisted before the central party leaders that the 2014 polls taking place after the division of the state, which the BJP supported, would be a good opportunity for them to gain ground in Telangana.

However, there is more to the story —like the caste disconnect between the TDP that is dominated by the Kammas and the BJP that is dominated by the Reddys.

And some BJP leaders, including those of Seemandhra, cite the 1999-2004 NDA period, pointing to Naidu's dominance, which they say did not allow the party's growth then.

They even grudge that Naidu deals directly with the national leaders, not keeping them in the loop.

Now with the alliance certain, the two parties are negotiating the specific seats they would contest, which should be known in a day or two.

Seemandhra BJP, however, was keen on the TDP alliance.


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