Pre-poll booster for BJP, TDP back in NDA fold after 6 years : The Tribune India

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Pre-poll booster for BJP, TDP back in NDA fold after 6 years

Pawan Kalyan’s JSP on board too | Andhra Pradesh seats to be finalised soon

Pre-poll booster for BJP, TDP back in NDA fold after 6 years

Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi earlier this week. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, March 9

In a shot in the arm for the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, estranged ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Saturday returned to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) fold, six years after it walked out of the ruling coalition protesting non-grant of a special status to Andhra Pradesh after the creation of Telangana.

Talks on with BJD, Akalis

The BJP and BJD are still in talks on a seat-sharing arrangement for a pre-poll tie-up in LS and Assembly elections and the matter is stuck at the number of seats for the Assembly polls, say sources. Odisha has 21 LS and 147 Assembly segments. Talks with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab are also learnt to be underway.

DMK gives Cong 9 seats in TN

Repeating its 2019 seat-sharing formula for principal ally Congress, ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu allotted nine of 39 seats in the state and lone seat of Puducherry to national party for the LS polls. Also, actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) joined the DMK-led alliance. The DMK gave MNM one seat for the 2025 RS polls.

A formal announcement regarding TDP’s return to the NDA was made by BJP president JP Nadda on Saturday. “I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of N Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena Party’s Pawan Kalyan to join the NDA family. Under the visionary leadership of PM Narendra Modi, the BJP, TDP and JSP are committed to the progress of the country and uplift of the state and the people of Andhra,” Nadda said. Later, the BJP chief, former Andhra CM Naidu and Kalyan issued a joint statement, formalising the alliance and said modalities of seat sharing would be deliberated upon and finalised in a day or two. Sources said the three have reached a tentative agreement for the BJP and JSP to contest eight LS seats out of 25 in the state, leaving the rest for principal player, the TDP. Also it has been tentatively decided that the TDP will contest around 145 of the state’s 175 Assembly seats, leaving the rest for the BJP-JSP combine.

The Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state are to be held simultaneously.

The three party chiefs jointly said they hoped the alliance would live up to the expectation of the people of Andhra and secure their wholehearted support. “The BJP and TDP have a very old relationship together. The TDP joined the NDA in 1996 and has worked together successfully in Atal ji’s and Narendra Modi ji’s governments. In 2014, the TDP and BJP fought the LS and Assembly elections together. The JSP had supported the 2014 parliamentary and Assembly elections in Andhra,” the leaders said, with the TDP saying the alliance would “sweep” the national and state polls in Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu’s return is significant as he had pulled out of the BJP-led NDA in March 2018 over TDP’s unmet demand for a special status to Andhra. The TDP had then even moved a motion of no-confidence against the government in the LS, the first such motion against PM Modi-led NDA. The BJP government survived the motion with 325 votes against it and 126 in favour.

Saturday’s deal between the TDP, BJP and JSP was reached after a final round of meetings between Naidu, Pawan Kalyan, Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The allies are likely to hold a joint rally at Guntur on March 17.

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