PM Modi, Naidu, Pawan Kalyan to share dais after a decade with March 17 rally

Public meeting at Chilakaluripet in Palnadu district will be the first by the three parties after they forged an electoral alliance.

Amaravati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan will share dais after a decade as they will come together for a public meeting at Chilakaluripet on March 17 to launch NDA’s campaign for elections to Assembly and Lok Sabha in Andhra Pradesh.

The public meeting at Chilakaluripet in Palnadu district will be the first by the three parties after they forged an electoral alliance.

N. Chandrababu Naidu had never shared public dais with PM Modi since walking out of the BJP-led NDA in 2018.

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Pawan Kalyan had addressed a public meeting with the PM Modi in Hyderabad in November last year during the campaign for Telangana Assembly elections.

However, the three leaders will be coming together at a public meeting after a decade. It was in 2014 that they campaigned together. Jana Sena had not contested the elections then but Pawan Kalyan had campaigned for the TDP-BJP alliance

The TDP, BJP and JSP are working to make the March 17 public meeting a huge success to launch their joint campaign on a grand scale.

TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh, who is son of N. Chandrababu Naidu, will be overseeing the arrangements for the public meeting.

The TDP chief on Tuesday held a meeting with leaders of the coordination committee to finalise the arrangements.

The seat sharing agreement among three NDA partners was announced on Monday night.

The TDP will contest 144 out of 175 Assembly seats and 17 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats. It left 31 Assembly segments and eight Lok Sabha seats for the two allies.

While Jana Sena will contest 21 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats, the BJP will field its candidates in 10 Assembly and six Lok Sabha constituencies.

The agreement was reached after eight-hour-long talks among the leaders of the three parties at N. Chandrababu Naidu’s residence at Undavalli here.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP national vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda and Jana Sena leader held talks with N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The seat sharing was finalised three days after Naidu and Pawan Kalyan held talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J. P. Nadda in New Delhi. TDP accepted the BJP’s invitation to re-join NDA.

TDP and BJP had together contested the 2014 elections in Andhra Pradesh with Jana Sena’s support.

The TDP-BJP alliance had come to power with 106 seats in the 175-member Assembly. While TDP had won 102 seats and secured 58.29 per cent votes, BJP had bagged four seats and polled 2.29 per cent votes. YSRCP was the second largest party with 67 seats (38.28 per cent votes).

The TDP had won 15 Lok Sabha seats while BJP had bagged two.

Differences later cropped among the NDA partners over the issue of special category status. While JSP had distanced itself from TDP and BJP barely a year later, Naidu severed ties with the BJP in 2018.

In the 2019 elections, TDP, BJP and JSP have contested the polls separately. While TDP and BJP went alone, the JSP contested the polls in alliance with BSP and the Left parties. TDP, which lost power to the YSR Congress, could win only 23 seats. JSP won a single seat while BJP drew a blank.

The YSR Congress had also swept the Lok Sabha polls, winning 22 seats. The TDP had bagged the remaining three seats.

After the crushing defeat in the 2019 polls, the Jana Sena returned to the NDA. Though N. Chandrababu Naidu was also keen to revive the alliance with the BJP, the latter was cold to his moves due to friendly relations with YSR Congress, which extended full support to the Modi government in passing crucial Bills in Parliament.

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