After threatening to scrap the alliance with the BJP, the TDP on Friday mended fences with its ally and dramatically, settled for just one Assembly constituency instead of the seven it had sought to take back from the saffron party’s kitty of 14 in Seemandhra.
After raising the pitch over “weak” candidates put up by the BJP, the TDP climbed down from its high pedestal after the former’s emissaries Prakash Javadekar and Raj Purohit made it clear that they would surrender only Ichchapuram Assembly seat and promised to reconsider the candidature of ‘weak’ nominees in segments like Tadepalligudem.
As per the earlier seat-sharing agreement between the two in Seemandhra, the BJP was to contest in 14 Assembly and four Lok Sabha constituencies and leave the rest to the TDP. Seemandhra has 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats. Sources said BJP leaders did not give any clear-cut assurance to the TDP over replacing their candidate for the Narsapur Lok Sabha seat, industrialist Gokaraju Ganga Raju, with another businessman Raghurama Krishnam Raju. Same is the case with NTR’s daughter D Purandeswari’s candidature for the Rajampet LS seat. The final agreement was reached after Javadekar and Raj Purohit held talks with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu at his residence here in the afternoon for about three hours.
Naidu, who had flown back from Visakhapatnam Thursday midnight after cancelling his tour to sort out differences with the BJP, later left for Krishna district. Emerging from the meeting, Javadekar said they had sorted out the differences and the alliance would continue. Then, he went to his party’s senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu’s residence for further talks. BJP’s AP unit president Kambhampati Haribabu, TDP’s YS Chowdary and Kambhampati Ramamohan Rao too accompanied Javadekar to Venkaiah’s residence. After discussions with Venkaiah, the TDP leaders said as per the latest agreement, the TDP would give 13 Assembly and four LS seats along with three MLC seats in Seemandhra to the BJP. Addressing a press conference in the evening, Javadekar, Chowdary and Rammohan Rao announced that they would jointly fight the elections to make Narendra Modi the prime minister. “If elected, we will together form governments in Seemandhra and Telangana,” they declared.
Chandrababu Naidu, at a whistle stop meeting at Machilipatnam later in the evening, said, “Though we have joined hands with the BJP, minorities need not fear. The TDP will take care of all sections.”
Several TDP leaders feel the entire episode has damaged Naidu’s credibility. “After forging the alliance with the BJP, the TDP-BJP combine was able to get some feel-good atmosphere as Naidu tried to convince people that he could reconstruct both states with the help of Modi. But, now, our image has taken a beating,” said a TDP leader.
TDP chief’s image takes a beating?
Several TDP leaders feel the entire episode has damaged party chief Chandrababu Naidu’s credibility. “After forging the alliance, the TDP-BJP combine was able to get some feel-good atmosphere. But, now, our image has taken a beating,” a senior TDP leader admitted.