The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is already taking a toll on political parties' alliances. While the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) earlier decided against allying with the Congress for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, it now appears as though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its NDA partner, the Telugu Desam Party (TDM) will go it alone in Andhra and Telangana.
The TDP politburo, which met on Sunday afternoon at NTR Bhavan, reviewed the poll alliance with the BJP and decided to seek more clarity on the number of seats sought by the BJP in both the regions. "The alliance with the BJP is a liability for TDP in Seemandhra although it is advantageous in Telangana," Chandrababu Naidu informed politburo members.
Chandrababu and BJP's Venkaiah Naidu spoke on Sunday evening and agreed to meet after Monday's Ugadi festival to pursue a compromise formula acceptable to both the BJP cadre in Telangana and the TDP cadre in Seemandhra.
Chandrababu's comments came in the wake of the BJP's Telangana unit announcing late on Saturday that it can no longer wait for a seat-sharing arrangement with the TDP, and will go it alone in Telangana. The decision came after senior BJP leader and party spokesperson Prakash Javadeker failed to reach an agreement with TDP's Chandrababu inspite of camping in Hyderabad for nearly a week.
The BJP's Telangana unit wants nine Parliament and 45 Assembly seats. The TDP is ready to give the saffron party 6-8 Parliament and 35 Assembly seats. The state's BJP chief,
As a last ditch effort, BJP's Telangana chief G Kishan Reddy held talks with TDP leaders at a hotel late on Saturday. Although TDP's Telangana leaders were ready to offer more seats, TDP chief Chandrababu was not keen to give in to BJP over fears of a reversal in Seemandhra, it is said. Later in the night, Kishan Reddy announced the party's decision to stop further confabulations with the TDP and directed the cadre to prepare for a lone fight. "We know the trouble of going alone but we are prepared for any eventuality," said Kishan Reddy. "How long can we wait for? TDP is weak in Telangana and they know that. They are just trying to buy time to get more Congress MLAs into TDP. How can TDP run the show with borrowed or migrated leaders?" was the state BJP chief's moot question.
Behind the scenes, say insiders, the TDP feels that an alliance with the BJP alliance can prove to be detrimental for it in Seemandhra, where senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj is now more popular; Swaraj, known as 'Chinnamma' (younger mother) had colluded with Peddamma (elder mother) i.e. Sonia Gandhi to divide the state. Congress leaders in Seemandhra had criticised both as the creators of Telangana and against samaikyandhra. The TDP feels that it has better chances in Seemandhra and hence not keen to give in to BJP, which wants six Parliament and 35 Assembly seats there, including Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry and Tirupati.
Besides, the BJP is likely to field a few former Congress leaders, such as Purandeswari and Kavuri Sambashiv Rao, who had lost ground and joined the BJP after the bifurcation. "BJP needs us more than we need the BJP," said Talasani Srinivas Yadav, TDP president for Hyderabad.
Now, it appears that the talks, which broke down on Saturday, may resume on Tuesday, when there will be just two days left for notification of the first phase polls in Telangana. Election will be held on April 30 and nominations commence on Wednesday, April 2.