Hyderabad: Ending weeks of suspense, the Telugu Desam and the BJP finalised their pre-poll alliance on Sunday.
TD chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar announced the seat sharing between the two parties in the presence of Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral at a press conference.
State BJP president G. Kishan Reddy, who has been vehemently opposing the alliance, was conspicuous by his absence.
Mr Naidu and Mr Javadekar, however, restrained themselves from announcing the constituencies to be allocated to the saffron brigade fearing a backlash from aspirants in both parties. They merely revealed the number of seats each party would be contesting.
According to Mr Naidu, the BJP would contest in five Lok Sabha and 15 Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh while it would get a higher share of 47 Assembly and eight Lok Sabha seats in Telangana. Both leaders said that the alliance was in the nation’s interest and the respective cadres must be ready to make sacrifices.
Mr Naidu exuded confidence that the NDA would get 300 seats and would secure support of other parties — who would win 50-60 seats — by making post-poll alliances. “Ours is a lucky combination,” he pointed out.
The top leadership of both Telugu Desam and Bharatiya Janata Party have to really sweat it out to make sure that the electoral alliance reaps benefits for both parties. The duo’s journey, which has just begun, in a turbulent atmosphere, marked with mutual dislike and distrust, will benefit TD in Andhra Pradesh, but leave the saffron brigade in Telangana red- faced.
“The central leadership, in its eagerness to project that NDA is regaining acceptability of earlier partners. We will be helping Chandrababu Naidu to win polls in AP at our cost in Telangana,” pointed out a senior BJP leader, who opposed the alliance.
BJP received its first jolt from its Warangal district unit president, r. A. Ashok Reddy, quitting the party in protest against alliance, while its counterpart TD, lost to Medak MLA, M Hanumantha Rao, who announced that he would contest as Independent from Malkajgiri Assembly, which will go to BJP as part of the alliance.
BJP national leader, Prakash Javadekar was gheraoed at the state party headquarters for conceding Patancheru to TD, whose cadre in Vijayawada, Nellore and Antapur were fuming at Naidu’s decision to leave certain Assembly seats to BJP.
The TD-BJP alliance did wonders for both sides in 1999 when the junior partner got the highest ever tally of 12 in Assembly and seven Lok Sabha seats. The transfer of votes between the two parties was also overwhelming with BJP getting 42.86 per cent votes in the seats it contested against its own 4-5 per cent vote share. TD got 48.17 per cent in seats it contested.
The TD leaders on the other hand argued that in 2004 when BJP contested on its own, secured just seats out of 271 it contested and lost deposit in 263 seats.
Location: Andhra Pradesh