In its search for allies in the south, the BJP is inching towards sealing a poll alliance with the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh.
The seat-sharing talks between the two parties have reached a crucial stage and the announcement on a tie-up would be made in a “day or two”, according to sources in both the camps.
Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar is in the city and held prolonged negotiations with the TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and representatives on sharing of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in both the Telangana and Seemandhra regions. A hard bargaining is on regarding sharing of seats in Telangana where the saffron party is insisting on 50 of the 119 Assembly seats and nine of the 17 Lok Sabha seats.
However, the TDP has offered a maximum of 30 Assembly and eight LS seats in Telangana to the potential ally.
In Seemandhra, where the BJP does not have much presence and is only banking on the charisma of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the saffron party is seeking 25 Assembly seats, out of the total 175 in the region, and five of the 25 LS seats.
The talks ended in a deadlocked over claims and counter-claims pertaining to the Telangana region.
“We will place the proposals before our party president who will take a final call,” the TDP sources said.
Both the parties are aware of their limitations and the need for clinching a deal as it would result in a win-win situation for them.
They are looking at a broader alliance by roping in the Jana Sena, floated recently by popular actor Pawan Kalyan, and Lok Satta, headed by civil servant turned politician Dr N Jayaprakash Narayan.
Kalyan, who is the younger brother of megastar of Telugu cinema and Union Minister K Chiranjeevi, has pledged support to Modi and declared that he would not contest in the coming elections to avoid a split in the anti-Congress votes. His stand is being interpreted in political circles as an indirect support to the TDP.
The TDP-BJP alliance is being revived after a gap of ten years. Naidu was a key national player during the NDA regime with his party providing crucial outside support to the BJP-led alliance from 1998 to 2004. However, he ended the alliance after losing power in the 2004 elections.
In the 2009 elections, the TDP had struck an alliance with the Left parties but failed to capture power in the state.
The changed political dynamics, in the wake of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and emergence of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as a formidable political force, appear to have prompted Naidu to look up to the saffron party to improve his party’s prospects in the coming elections.
The growing popularity of Modi among the youth is also said to have influenced TDP’s move. Moreover, the proposal for working together came from Modi himself.
While addressing a rally in Hyderabad in September last year, he had appealed to the TDP to join the efforts to rid the country of Congress rule.