Ties with BJP under strain, TDP says may go it alone in Seemandhra

Less than a fortnight after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) returned to the NDA, its alliance with the BJP seems to be in trouble. The TDP has even threatened to delink from the BJP in Seemandhra and contest all the Lok Sabha and assembly seats there on its own, while leaving the tie-up intact in Telangana.

Differences have cropped up between the two allies over two issues — TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s opposition to the BJP’s “weak” candidates in one Lok Sabha and nine assembly seats, and his insistence on sharing the stage with BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at public meetings in Seemandhra.

“We have been maintaining right from the beginning that the alliance should be useful for both parties. But the TDP is ending up as the loser here.

We have been forced to give away our seats to the BJP. They are fielding candidates who have no chance of winning. These are all seats that the TDP can win by itself. If a BJP candidate loses in an assembly segment, we will lose that parliament seat also… If the BJP does not cooperate with us and field candidates who can win, we will pull out of the alliance in Seemandhra and contest alone. We cannot do anything in Telangana because the nominations have already been filed,’’ said state TDP spokesperson Kodela Shiva Prasad Rao.

Addressing a rally in Parvathipuram, Vizianagaram, on Thursday, Naidu said, “We formed an alliance with the BJP to ensure that Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister and frees this country of corruption and the hopeless rule of Congress. The TDP-BJP alliance is in the interest of our state. But I do not understand why the BJP has fielded weak candidates in some constituencies. It may end up benefiting our rivals. We should not allow the YSR Congress Party to take advantage of this situation because it is a corrupt party.”

Naidu’s contention is that TDP candidates would have a better chance of winning some of the seats like Narasaraopet, Vijayawada, Nellore, Rajampet, Narasapuram and Rajahmundry, where the BJP has fielded “weak” candidates. As per the seat-sharing arrangement, the BJP has got four LS and 15 Assembly seats in Seemandhra.

The BJP has also opted for industrialist Gokaraju Ganga Raju for the Narasapuram Lok Sabha seat instead of Naidu’s choice — another industrialist, Raghuram Krishna Raju. The seat was reportedly given to the BJP with the understanding that Krishna Raju would be nominated. Krishna Raju has now threatened to contest as an independent and seek the TDP’s support.

TDP sources said many party leaders have conveyed their doubts about the BJP candidates to Naidu. “In 2009, Naidu formed a ‘maha khutami’ (grand alliance) with TRS and Left parties. It failed because Naidu did not read the mood in the state properly. We are afraid that Naidu may have got it wrong again. This is a crucial election, coming at a time when the TDP has a got a chance of winning in the post-bifurcation scenario. We are giving the …continued »