10:46 pm - Tuesday November 3, 2015

BJP and Chandrababu Naidu may announce deal today, hitches remain

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TDP not to attend meeting with GoM on Telangana
TDP not to attend meeting with GoM on Telangana

Hyderabad – After weeks of proposals and demurrals, the BJP and Chandrababu Naidu may have finalised a tie-up, but last minute hitches have delayed an announcement.

The parties may today announce a partnership for the national and state election in Andhra Pradesh, resuscitating an alliance that was last seen in 2004.

Mr Naidu, 63, heads the Telugu Desam Party or TDP.

Sources say he has agreed to give the BJP eight parliamentary and 45 assembly seats to contest in the Telangana region, and five parliamentary and 15 assembly seats in the residuary Seemandhra region.

A sticking point remains, sources say, over the two key seats – Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam – which both parties want to contest.

On June 2, Andhra Pradesh will be divided – the region of Telangana will be carved out as India’s 29th state. Mr Naidu is not popular in this region because he was cagey about his stand on a new Telangana state, refusing to openly endorse it.

For the same reason, Mr Naidu is expected to benefit in Seemandhra – the two regions that will form the down-sized Andhra Pradesh and have aggressively opposed the new map, not least because they will grapple with a reduced share of water, power and revenue from Telangana.

NDTV’s opinion poll shows a big leap forward for Mr Naidu in Seemandhra. The TDP gets 14 of the 25 parliamentary seats at stake, according to the forecast. That’s a gain of 10 seats from 2009.

For the BJP, the strength and organizational skills of Mr Naidu’s party could be a blue-chip asset. And the fact that the BJP supported the law to divide Andhra Pradesh could blunt some of the resentment for Mr Naidu in Telangana.

Telangana votes on April 30; Seemandhra votes a week later on May 7.

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