AP: TDP – Jana Sena alliance almost sealed, BJP yet to commit

Hyderabad: The opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh (AP) is all set to rekindle its alliance with the Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party (JSP). The actor-turned-politician Kalyan is currently in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and all three might join hands before the 2024 state and Lok Sabha elections to take on the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

A TDP leader told Siasat.com that Kalyan’s most recent statement that anti-YSRCP votes should not split is a clear indication of the alliance getting rekindled. “I can say that Jana Sena and TDP are all set to to form an alliance. BJP however will commit only later. Their state head, Somu Veerrraju, has almost finished his two-year term, and he was not keen on the alliance,” he added.

It has also been learnt that a TDP leader also met the BJP’s high command in New Delhi, but that nothing much came of the meeting. Telugu Desam leaders are however confident of joining hands with JSP once again.

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“Unlike in Telangana, the BJP has also not been able to gain a foothold here in ANdhra Pradesh (AP). They are really trying, but the anger against the BJP is still there among people with regard to issues like Special Status. Everyone here knows that the Congress and BJP together split erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. The BJP should have given AP something in return,” the TDP leader stated.

The TDP and BJP parted ways in 2018, after ex-AP chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over Andhra Pradesh not getting Special Category Status, a promise that had been made while the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into Telangana and AP in 2014.

In the 2014 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the TDP, BJP and JSP had forged an alliance. It was believed that the TDP won most of the seats (it was 102 assembly seats out of 175) in East Godavari and West Godavari districts mainly because of Kalyan’s influence. After the BJP quit the NDA, all three of them, along with the ruling YSR Congress Party (led by chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy) contested the 2019 state elections separately

It proved to be disastrous for the TDP, which one only 23 Assembly seats, while the JSP won just one seat. The BJP drew a blank, while the YSRCP won a staggering 151 constituencies. The YSRCP secured nearly 50 percent of the vote share, while the TDP got about 40 percent. Kalyan’s JSP got about 5 percent of the vote share (mainly comprising of votes from the Kapu community), which analysts say is also responsible for TDP’s disastrous performance.

“That will be a good combination to take on the YSRCP, as all three parties have their own vote banks. The TDP will have to cede some space to the BJP however. But Pawan Kalyan plus TDP should be decently placed to taken on Jagan Mohan Reddy. The YSRCP also has its own issues, and the new capital or Amaravati issue is only an issue for the people living in and around Guntur and Vijayawada,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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