The TDP-BJP alliance, announced just 10 days ago, seems to have run into choppy waters over the BJP’s selection of candidates in Seemandhra.
The TDP is upset with the saffron party’s nomination of “weak candidates” in several of the 14 assembly and four Lok Sabha seats allotted to the BJP, which, it fears, will benefit rival YSR Congress.
“We aligned with the BJP to see that Narendra Modi becomes the PM and rid the country of the corrupt and inept Congress rule. The alliance was also in the interest of our state. But somehow the BJP has fielded very weak candidates in some places which will benefit rival parties,” TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu said Thursday.
What added fuel to the fire is the BJP’s decision to field D Purandeswari, a sitting Congress MP from Visakhapatnam, from the Rajampet Lok Sabha seat. Purandeswari -- daughter of TDP founder NT Rama Rao and Naidu’s sister-in-law – shares a strained relation with the TDP chief.
To sort out the crisis, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar -- who played crucial role in hammering out the alliance – is in Hyderabad to meet TDP leaders. The two parties only have a day to settle the issue since Saturday is the last day for filing nominations. The assembly and Lok Sabha polls for the Semandhara region take place simultaneously on May 7. But the alliance is campaigning together in Telangana, the original bone of contention for the two parties.
Though Naidu was pacifying angry TDP leaders till Wednesday, Purandeswari’s nomination seems to have affected the alliance adversely.
TDP leaders feel Purandeswari’s prospects in Rajampet are low as she has no connect with the Rayalaseema seat. Questioning BJP picks in Narsapur and other seats, TDP also alleged an RSS influence in the saffron party’s candidate selection.
In Delhi, senior BJP leaders were hopeful that differences would be ironed out in the “interest of the alliance”. The party, they said, was ready to discuss changes if required in the assembly polls but stressed that the decision on Purandeswari was ‘irreversible’. Seemandhra BJP president Kambhampati Haribabu also told HT that differences would be resolved. “If there are issues, we are willing to sit and settle them out,” he said.
On the ground, a top Seemandhra BJP leader said the TDP shouldn’t bother about BJP’s candidates ‘after having allocated the seats to them’. “Of course we consulted several people, organisations,” he said, not denying the RSS’ influence.
“And as far as Purandeswari is concerned, I think it is better to keep personal equations aside,” he added. The BJP assesses that Naidu won’t leave the alliance since he is benefitting from the “Modi wave”, a crucial factor in the formation of a TDP-led government in Seemandhra.
TDP leaders, on the other hand, are hoping the alliance would break, buoyed by recent surveys showing a dramatic improvement in TDP’s performance in Seemandhra. “A split would be in best interest of the TDP,” says party’s Vijayawada LS candidate Kesineni Nani.