Telugu Desam, BJP may ally for Telangana polls
Hyderabad: A late evening meeting Wednesday between Union home minister Amit Shah and Telugu Desam general secretary Nara Lokesh has triggered speculation over a possible alliance between the two parties for the Telangana state Assembly polls. The meeting was later unofficially confirmed by several sources in both parties.
Highly placed sources in the BJP told Deccan Chronicle that the alliance would be struck but would be announced only after the release of former AP chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is currently in prison in Rajahmundry.
“Before a formal alliance is announced, minor issues like whether the BJP-TD tie-up would include the Jana Sena party, would have to be sorted out,” saffron party sources said, adding that seat sharing and identification of seats for the partners will be worked out soon after.
Lokesh met Amit Shah, along with TS BJP chief and Union minister G. Kishan Reddy and AP BJP chief D. Purandeswari. TD sources claimed that the union minister’s assurance that “justice would prevail” had tremendously energised the TD cadre, giving hope of some reprieve from the onslaught of the YSRC government in corruption cases in TD regime between 2014 and 2019.
A section of the old guard in the BJP in Hyderabad had batted for the TD alliance but their attempts were scuttled by Bandi Sanjay Kumar when he was at the helm. Interestingly, several BJP leaders and aspirants in the HMDA area, besides Kishan Reddy and Sanjay, were the first to condemn Naidu’s arrest.
After some flip flops, the BRS leadership also condemned Naidu’s arrest. BRS working president K.T. Rama Rao, however, drew flak from TD sympathisers for curtailing protests in Hyderabad. As damage control, minister T. Harish Rao went on officially condemning Naidu arrest, even as Rama Rao praised N.T. Rama Rao as one of the greatest Telugu icons.
BJP leaders argued that the BRS cannot invoke regional sentiment, after having made forays into Maharashtra, MP and AP.
“Recently, KTR requested investors to set up shop in AP and offered to mediate with YSRC chief and CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for land to these investors,” a BJP leader pointed out.
The Jana Sena, headed by Tollywood superstar K. Pawan Kalyan, which is part of the NDA, agreed to heed raj dharma and withdrew from the GHMC polls and extended support to BJP candidates.
According to sources, the BJP informed Kalyan of providing a roadmap for Telangana also but it didn’t materialise, purportedly due to differences of opinion between Sanjay and Kishan Reddy. The Jana Sena has been trying to forge a tripartite alliance with the BJ and TD in Andhra Pradesh, a senior Jana Sena senior leader said, adding that the same could be worked out in Telangana also.
When contacted, Nadendla Manohar said that he was not aware of the developments post the meeting between Lokesh and Shah. While making his party stand clear on entering the poll fray in Telangana, he said there was a need to recognise the rising voices in and around Hyderabad, as reflected in the protests in the IT corridors after Naidu’s arrest and give them due recognition.
The YSRC upped its campaign on social media against TD and its “opportunistic” politics by trending videos of Naidu and Lokesh going all out against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah.
However, there was no change in the official YSRC stand as orchestrated every time by its general secretary S. Ramakrishna Reddy that their party would the face electorate on its own and was least bothered about alliances being stitched together by the Opposition.