Signs of chill in TDP-BJP alliance?

Signs of chill in TDP-BJP alliance?
Highlights

BJP national president Amit Shah is scheduled to have a direct interaction with the party’s booth committee members at the grassroots level from Andhra Pradesh in Vijayawada on May 25. The BJP chief is also planning to make a similar trip in August too. 

Naidu is compelled to sail with the ‘undependable’ friend to steer the truncated state out of bifurcation blues with the Centre’s largesse. However, the debate over the TDP-BJP alliance becomes much shriller in the wake of noises from the defectors in the BJP with Congress moorings. The turncoats are out to shoot their gun from the BJP shoulders

BJP national president Amit Shah is scheduled to have a direct interaction with the party’s booth committee members at the grassroots level from Andhra Pradesh in Vijayawada on May 25. The BJP chief is also planning to make a similar trip in August too.

The TDP ally, sharing power in the NDA government, is poised for its three-day annual conclave in Visakhapatnam, two days after the Shah’s programme. The Visakha conference is to mark the birth anniversary of the TDP founder and matinee idol late NT Rama Rao. It has become convention for the TDP to take a fresh look at its policies in the context of changing situations and elect a fresh team of leadership at the Maha Nadu every year.

The two major political events of the ruling combine scheduled to happen hardly two years before the 2019 general elections do certainly have much political significance. Buoyed by an impressive outcome in the recent elections in five northern states, including Uttar Pradesh, the BJP top brass is understandably keen to grow independently in the south without having to have pillion riding on the back of the allies.

The perceived anti-incumbency feeling against the TDP’s three-year rule in AP obviously leaves a vacuum. People’s disenchantment over the TDP government’s inability to check `stinking’ corruption which is eating into the vitals of the administration and its alleged failure to realise major commitments obviously contribute to the vacuum.

The YSRC, the principal opposition is at its best to capitalise on the anti-establishment sentiment by cornering the allies on the issues of special category status and funding for capital and Polavaram projects. Against this background, either to sail in the TDP’s sinking boat by holding on to the alliance or to turn the tide in its favour are the twin challenges before the BJP.

A diehard BJP leader, talking to this writer, aptly expressed his party’s mood on the Naidu government’s performance, “Literally there is no governance and development in the last three years of TDP rule except marathon reviews by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. The government has failed to inch ahead of approvals of designs for capital building. It will be suicidal if we, as a political party, fail to respond to the call of people.”

It is naïve to believe that Naidu, known as a down-to-earth and shrewd politician, is not conscious of the BJP’s covert overtures. He is under pressure from party leaders, especially those from Telangana, to take a `pragmatic’ view of their ally. Telangana party leaders recently complained on the sectarian approach of the BJP in contravention of `mitra dharma’ in putting up joint struggles against the KCR government. Naidu consciously avoided overplaying the issue.

The NDA government’s stand on distribution of assets figuring in the 9th and 10th schedules of the AP State Reorganization Act, 2014, between AP and Telangana, funding for the Polavaram project and according legal status to the special package offered in lieu of special category status are sure to make him believe that the BJP is certainly not a true friend in need.

But he is compelled to sail with the `undependable’ friend to steer the truncated state out of bifurcation blues with the Centre’s largesse. The Union Home Ministry made it clear that the asset distribution will happen only with the location of assets as a main criterion. If it happens, prime assets located in Hyderabad till the bifurcation will go to Telangana, leaving AP high and dry.

Is BJP out to woo KCR by holding out the asset distribution as the bait? A senior TDP leader does not rule it out. However, the debate over the TDP-BJP alliance becomes much shriller in the wake of noises from the defectors in the BJP with Congress moorings. The turncoats are out to shoot their gun from the BJP shoulders.

The top leaders from both the camps such as Venkaiah Naidu and Chandrababu Naidu issued statements that the talk of alliances and seat sharing will take place only at the time of elections. Such a talk by Naidus obviously gives credence to the view that the sailing of the BJP and the TDP, replicating a roller-coaster ride, may be subjected to a review at the time of hustings.

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