By T S Sudhir
The talks between the BJP and the Telugu Desam for an alliance in both Telangana and Seemandhra have hit a roadblock over the number of seats each partner should contest. The Telangana unit of the BJP, which along with the RSS was never in favour of allying with the TDP, has put forth a demand for 11 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats and 72 of the 119 assembly seats in Telangana.
The BJP even wanted the post of the Telangana CM for its president Kishen Reddy. Sources say TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu scoffed at the BJP’s overestimation of its own strength.
Though BJP president Rajnath Singh has authorised Arun Jaitley to finalise the alliance in Andhra Pradesh, the talks on the ground were being conducted by Prakash Javdekar who succeeded in getting the RSS and the BJP leaders to agree to an alliance. But Javdekar could not get the Telangana unit of the BJP to lower its demand.
The matter went to Jaitley who asked both the BJP and the TDP to be flexible and accommodative. Jaitley has reportedly given a figure of 8 LS + 45-50 assembly seats in Telangana and 5 LS and 15-20 assembly seats in Seemandhra. The BJP accepts that it is not on a strong wicket in Seemandhra by virtue of having supported the bifurcation bill and is willing to play second fiddle but wants a good share of seats in Telangana. According to TDP sources, Naidu is willing to concede 8 LS + 30 assembly seats in Telangana and 4 LS and 15 assembly seats in Seemandhra.
Naidu is driving a hard bargain questioning the BJP’s standing to demand so many seats. “On what basis is the party claiming that it has expanded its base since 2004?” he asked. But the BJP believes it will be difficult for Naidu to call it quits. More than the BJP, it is the TDP which is in need for a partner to ensure a return to power after ten years in the opposition. Also there is tremendous pressure from the Telangana unit of the TDP to agree to Jaitley’s terms.
(Also Published in Mail Today)