People in Seemandhra were never smitten with the BJP, and after the party supported the Telangana bill, it lost whatever little base it had in the region.
But now, even in the interiors of coastal Andhra, the BJP’s PM candidate, Narendra Modi, has managed to generate some interest. And Modi is not seen as one of those who engineered the state’s bifurcation.
For that they blame another BJP veteran Sushma Swaraj, who allowed the Telangana bill pass even without a debate in the Lok Sabha.
But the BJP here knows only Modi’s popularity is not enough for it to make inroads into the region. Also, although Naidu’s popularity is on the rise again, the TDP is not fully confident of a grand victory on its own.
Hence, the alliance — despite having been opposed by the local leaders and workers of both the parties — was important for both.
Now with the BJP supporting him and the craze among the youth for film-star Pawan Kalyan, who backed the alliance, Naidu now has his target set – more than 22 of the 25 LS seats in the region.
More importantly for Naidu, he is expecting 120+ of the 175 assembly seats to become the first CM of Seemandhra. Both are tough targets, though, as Jaganmohan Reddy is still a big force in Seemandhra.
In Telangana, the alliance may not do such wonders, which is why the local BJP unit opposed the tie-up. Naidu is perceived as one of those who opposed Telangana.
But the TDP is still strong in pockets like Khammam, Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy. And the split in the credit for forming the state between the Congress and the TRS could help the BJP-TDP combo fetch a couple of Parliament seats and a respectable number in the 119-seat assembly election.
The deal, however, is still not acceptable to a lot of local politicians, who will have to work together. That’s why the two parties have suspended the announcement of the candidate list for the day.
But there is hardly any time to reconcile and project a united face. Telangana will go to polls on April 30 and Seemandhra on May 7.