Chandrababu Naidu talks with BJP: YSRCP says TDP afraid of losing, Cong says no alliance likely

The ruling YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh said Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu is trying to get into an alliance with the BJP as he is afraid to contest alone. “Chandrababu is desperate as he knows the TDP stands no chance against the YSRCP and its Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is very popular in the state. The YSRCP government has implemented a variety of welfare schemes that no other government has done. No alliance, whether with the BJP or the JanaSena Party (JSP), can stop YSRCP from sweeping the next election,” senior minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, who is also party in-charge of Rayalaseema districts, said today.

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) spokesperson M Mushtak said they do not believe any alliance is in the works. “After Naidu withdrew from the NDA, I don’t think the BJP will trust him again,” he said.

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Although JSP leaders did not react to the claim, party chief — actor-turned politician K Pawan Kalyan — announced he would start his tour of the state in his new, specially modified vehicle, from June 14. Sources said Kalyan’s slogan for the political campaign was going to be “YSRCP mukt Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Pradesh free of YSRCP)”.

In the first phase of his tour, he is scheduled to cover several constituencies in the once undivided East and West Godavari districts. Kalyan had been suggesting to state BJP leaders that their party should join the TDP-JSP alliance to defeat the YSRCP. BJP Andhra Pradesh chief Somu Veeraju today said he and other party leaders had conveyed Kalyan’s suggestion to their party’s central leadership. “Ultimately, the party’s central leaders will take the call. Right now, we have no indications of an alliance,” he said.

TDP sources said since June 4, when he returned from his New Delhi trip where he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chandrababu Naidu had plunged into work to choose candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, which will be held simultaneously in the state next May. Party leaders refused to comment on the Shah-Naidu meeting. Sources said that given the uphill task the TDP faces against YSRCP in the state, if there were to be an alliance between TDP, BJP and JSP, the national party would demand a big chunk of the seats in any sharing arrangement that follows.

Naidu, who has been addressing public meetings once or twice a month, may also hit the campaign trail more regularly. Sources said Naidu and senior TDP leaders fear that if there is indeed a seat-sharing arrangement between TDP, BJP and JSP, many of TDP’s ticket hopefuls could rebel, to quell which, Naidu is already working with various groups within the party.