TDP returns to NDA, signs poll pact with BJP
The NDA got a shot in the arm with the TDP returning to its fold after a gap of a decade and joining hands with the BJP for the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu announced the poll pact with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of BJP and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders.
The TDP, which had fought the 1999 election in alliance with the BJP and played a key role in propping up the NDA government, had pulled out of the alliance after the 2004 elections, which saw TDP losing power in the state and the NDA biting the dust at the centre.
Naidu told reporters that the TDP entered into an alliance with the BJP to serve the national interest.
The former chief minister said the TDP and BJP were capable of freeing the country from corruption. He was confident that the NDA would get more than 300 Lok Sabha seats.
On the protest by a section of TDP leaders over allocating some seats to the BJP, Naidu said losses and gains were common in an alliance. He said the party would try to do justice in future to the leaders who were feeling aggrieved.
"Chandrababu Naidu will be the co-architect with Narendra Modi in creating a corruption and Congress-free India," said Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, a constituent of the NDA.
BJP treasurer Piyush Goyal said the TDP's return would strengthen the NDA.
BJP's national spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the two parties would work together in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions.
Telangana and residuary state of Andhra Pradesh comprising Seemandhra will come into being as separate states on June 2. Naidu, who was the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, is now eyeing the post in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. Poll surveys forecast that TDP will also win majority of Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra.
The TDP and BJP leaders formalized the deal under which BJP will contest 47 assembly and seven Lok Sabha seats in Telangana and 15 assembly and five Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra.
The TDP, as the major regional party, will contest 72 assembly and 10 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana and 160 assembly and 20 Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra.
Elections to 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana are scheduled for April 30 while 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Seemandhra will go to the polls May 7.
In the 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won seven seats while the TDP had bagged 29.
The breakthrough in alliance talks came Saturday night after the intervention of the top leaders of the BJP and the TDP. At one stage, the talks appeared to have collapsed.
Gujral besides Javadekkar and Goyal held talks with TDP leaders at a hotel.
The TDP leaders who held the talks were Sujana Chowdhary, E. Dayakar Rao, Y. Ramakrishnudu and M. Narasimhulu. Javadekar met Chandrababu Naidu twice Saturday.
(Posted on 06-04-2014)