Ramoji Rao invites Amit Shah to RFC; may try to mediate for a return of TDP into NDA

HYDERABAD: Film producer and media baron Ramoji Rao has invited Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his one-day visit to Telangana to address a public meeting Munugode, to Ramoji Film City (RFC), where he is likely to try to broker a deal between Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the BJP leader for TDP’s return into the NDA.

According to reports, the deal between N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has been grappling in Andhra Pradesh politics without any traction, after a crushing defeat in 2019 at the hands of YSRC chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, is trying to get back into the NDA, and Amit Shah is being reached out to Sunday evening for the purpose.

Shah, who will be addressing a massive public rally in Munugode, is scheduled to have a 45-min pitstop at Ramoji Film City before reaching the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad.

This meeting will be significant for the TDP chief as the yellow party has been trying desperately to return into the NDA fold. Historically, TDP under Chandrababu Naidu has never won any election alone. After winning in 1999 elections as a partner of the BJP and as part of the NDA, Naidu began his second term of Chief Minister of the-then united Andhra Pradesh. But the alliance bit the dust after calling for early elections in 2004.

Naidu spent a decade in hibernation in the opposition space. After quitting the NDA after the 2004 defeat, TDP tied up with the TRS for the 2009 elections but failed to come back to power.

Post bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Naidu stitched an alliance with the BJP under Modi, and Tollywood actor turned politician, Pawan Kalyan, (whose Jana Sena did not contest), in 2014. He came to power but ditched the NDA again. When he fought the polls alone in 2019, Naidu was trounced. The TDP is again looking for a lifeline, ahead of 2024 polls.

Despite being in the fourth year of power, there is not enough anti-incumbency against the Jagan government for the TDP to sense a return to power alone. Thus, the TD is trying to claw back its way into the NDA.

TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has already shown his support to the BJP by supporting the party’s candidates in the recently held President and Vice-President elections.

But the BJP is wary of any friendship with Naidu, who is seen in the saffron party as a "betrayer". Besides, the BJP has a good chance in Telangana and won't want to spoil its chances by appearing friendly with the TDP. In 2018, the Congress party was picking steam before they allied with Naidu, and bit the dust in Telangana.

Neither the BJP nor the TDP sources have confirmed any meeting between Mr Shah and Mr Naidu.

In other related reports, Amit Shah may likely meet Tollywood star NTR Jr for dinner. According to sources, NTR will be among several other prominent people who have been invited to have dinner with Mr Shah, before he leaves for Delhi later tonight.

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