TDP-BJP-Jana Sena alliance on cards
A new political alliance is taking shape in Andhra Pradesh ahead of assembly and Lok Sabha polls as the Bharatiya Janata Party, Telugu Desam Party and Jana Sena, launched recently by Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan, are inching towards an understanding.
Kalyan will be meeting BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Friday in Ahmedabad for talks to finalise the arrangement, while BJP leader Prakash Javadekar is reaching Hyderabad Thursday to meet TDP leaders.
Both BJP and TDP are keen to have the young actor as a partner in the alliance as they were attracted by his slogan 'Congress hatao, desh bachao' (Remove Congress, save the country).
Kalyan, the younger brother of union minister and Congress leader K. Chiranjeevi, has held preliminary talks with BJP leaders for an alliance. While launching Jana Sena last week, he came down heavily on the Congress for dividing Andhra Pradesh but spared both TDP and BJP.
Meanwhile, Javadekar, who is incharge of BJP affairs in Andhra Pradesh, is arriving here Thursday for final talks with TDP leadership to finalise the tie-up. He will first meet BJP leaders from Telangana to convince them on the need to have an alliance with the TDP.
BJP leaders from Telangana are reluctant to have TDP as a partner as the latter is perceived as anti-Telangana in the region. They fear TDP's image may impact their prospects. But G. Kishan Reddy, who heads BJP's Telangana unit, said they would abide by the party leadership's decision on the issue.
However, the BJP is demanding majority of the 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats. A section of TDP leaders has taken exception to this "unreasonable" demand.
Javadekar last week held talks with TDP leaders in Hyderabad. BJP sources said the party may climb down as the central leadership is keen to have an alliance with TDP, which appears to have an upper hand in Seemandhra or residuary Andhra Pradesh.
In Seemandhra, which has 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP is likely to demand a limited number. Both BJP and TDP may also leave a few seats for Jana Sena in the two regions.
They are looking to cash in on the star's popularity in the fight against Congress and YSR Congress in Seemandhra and Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in Telangana.
TDP had fought 1999 elections in alliance with the BJP. TDP not only retained power in the state but the alliance bagged majority of 42 Lok Sabha seats. However, following a crushing defeat in the 2004 elections, TDP dumped the BJP.
In 2009, TDP and BJP fought the elections separately. TDP had formed a grand alliance with TRS and the left parties but could not return to power.
(Posted on 20-03-2014)