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TDP to return to NDA, pact with BJP likely to be announced next week

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TDP to return to NDA, pact with BJP likely to be announced next week
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Photo: The New Indian Express 

Hyderabad: The TDP is poised to rejoin the BJP-led NDA as early as next week. Seat-sharing agreements for the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections have been concluded, at least in general terms. The development comes just 10 days after TDP chief and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.

“The announcement may be made on February 20 or 21. There is no bad blood between the TDP and the BJP. Naidu explained to Shah the circumstances that prompted him to break away from the NDA ahead of the 2019 elections,” the sources said, the New Indian Express reported.

As part of the agreement, the TDP may cede 30 Assembly and 10 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP-Jana Sena combination. “Of the 30 Assembly seats, BJP may contest 5-10 and leave the rest to Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena. But in the Lok Sabha polls, BJP is likely to contest seven seats and leave three for its partner,” sources revealed.

The Jana Sena, led by the film industry star Pawan Kalyan, expects to open its account this time and put on a much better performance than the previous time when it only received one seat. It also expects to increase its vote share from 5.5% last time.

According to available information, the BJP is likely to field YSRC rebel MP K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju from Narasapuram, party State Chief D Purandeswari from Rajamahendravaram, former Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy from Rajampet, and senior leader Satyakumar from Hindupur or Anantapur.

S Satish is expected to run for Jana Sena in Kakinada, while Vallabhaneni Balashowry will run in Machilipatnam. Naga Babu, the brother of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, may run for Assembly from Anakapalle, whereas the former is expected to run from Bhimavaram. Tirupati is also being considered, according to sources.

The alliance's formal declaration will come after the BJP's national convention, which is slated for February 17-18. It is understood that prior to Naidu's meeting with Shah, a senior TDP leader met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who instructed him to negotiate the partnership with the Union Home Minister. After the senior leader spoke with Shah, a call was sent to Naidu inviting him to Delhi.

If the seat-sharing goes well, the TDP will be optimistic about returning to power. Naidu had won twice in an alliance with the BJP, once during the Vajpayee era and again in 2014. The TDP-BJP-Jana Sena alliance has been in the works since Pawan Kalyan increased his efforts to ensure that the 'opposition vote isn't split.

YSRC president and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy would face a difficult assignment in battling the powerful alliance on one side and a hopeful Congress with his own sister YS Sharmila training her guns on him on the other.

According to BJP leaders, Lok Sabha elections are expected to be held in the first week of April.


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