Hyderabad : The BJP is making frantic efforts to retrieve its critical tie-up with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh, where it has a marginal presence.
The alliance floundered over the BJP choice of certain candidates, especially the possible candidature of Daggubati Purandeswari from Rajampeta Lok Sabha constituency.
Purandeswari is the daughter of Telugu Desam Party founder N.T. Rama Rao, and the sister-in-law of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. However, Naidu and Purandeswari have been at loggerheads since NTR’s death.
It is this NTR family feud which is getting played out in the election arena, much to the consternation of the BJP. The TDP top brass was opposing Purandeswari’s candidature from the outset, until recently a member of the Congress. In fact, she was a minister at the Centre in the UPA-II government and had defected to the BJP over the Telanagana issue.
According to top sources in the TDP, the BJP had assured Naidu that it would not give a ticket to Purandeshwari.
Film legend NTR’s two sons in law — Chandrababu Naidu and Duggubati Venkateshwara Rao -– have been political rivals for the two decades. Purandeshwari, wife of Duggubati Venkateshwara Rao, feels that her brother in law Chandrababu has appropriated her father’s legacy and she has been attacking him ever since.
Alliance flounders as NTR family feud gets played out in political arena
Another reason for Naidu getting cold feet on the alliance is consolidation of the Muslim and Christian vote against the TDP across Andhra and Telangana.
Incidentally, the BJP is on the periphery of Andhra politics and its vote share in Seemandhra is less than 7 per cent. Since the BJP had backed the Congress in Parliament on the Telangana Bill, both the parties are being perceived as betrayers by the voters in Seemandhra. Jaganmohan Reddy has made this a potent issue in his campaign. Naidu is worried that this too might cut into his votes. The BJP and TDP pact was announced just a day before the first phase of polls. From the BJP’s point of view, an alliance with the TDP gives it a toehold in the region. However, it has not been able to field strong candidates, which has led to considerable resentment within the TDP rank and file.