Modi factor too alluring for TDP

Gujarat CM has tried reaching out to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu
Last Updated 24 September 2013, 05:45 IST

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N Chandrababu Naidu’s Delhi trip seem to offer pointers on how the party would align in the forthcoming general election.

While the possibility of TDP-BJP alliance became brighter ever since Narendra Modi’s elevation as the saffron party’s prime-ministerial candidate, Naidu had a lengthy session with BJP chief Rajnath Singh on Sunday in Delhi, heightening speculations of the alliance.

Speaking to a television channel, Naidu parried questions over alliance with the Modi-led BJP, while failing to categorically rule out the possibility.

“Modi had tried reaching out to me,” he said. The Gujarat chief minister had praised his father-in-law and founder of TDP N T Rama Rao.

Naidu left the BJP-led NDA following the 2004 election debacle, vowing never to repeat the “historical blunder”. However, the TDP’s attempt to win Muslim voters had failed in all by-elections, prompting analysts to speculate that it could actually see an advantage in aligning with the BJP this time, especially when it is isolated from all the parties, including the Left.

The TDP stuck to the 1999 elections with the BJP alliance and was rewarded by the strong approval of the NDA government post-Kargil war. But despite clamours by its rank and file to leave the coalition after the Gujarat riots in 2002, Naidu persisted and paid the price at the 2004 polls.

However, the situation is far different now. The TDP is virtually isolated in Telangana against the TRS and Congress, while in Seemandhra it is pitted against the YSRC and the Congress. Naidu could see the advantage of fighting the polls with an ally on its side, while also benefiting from the soaring popularity for NaMo in both regions.

In 2009, the party had alliances with the TRS and the Left parties and managed to bag 92 seats at the AP Assembly. Defections to the TRS over the Telangana issue and to the YSRC brought down the numbers to a mere 78.

While the BJP managed to add one more Assembly seat during the by-polls, the TDP failed to win a single seat.

Though Naidu has been in the ‘secular’ camp consistently, his ambivalence towards the BJP has been the subject of discussions in political circles here.

(Published 23 September 2013, 19:45 IST)

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