Ex-Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu meets Amit Shah amid BJP-TDP alliance buzz

The TDP was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance but exited in 2018 when Naidu was the state's chief minister. Photo: File.

New Delhi: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday and held talks over the possibility of an alliance between the BJP and the regional party for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, which will be held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh.

The TDP was part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance but exited in 2018 when Naidu was the state's chief minister.

BJP president J P Nadda was also part of the deliberations, sources said, adding that both parties are open to joining hands but a lot will depend on whether they reach a mutually agreeable seat-sharing arrangement.

However, the second meeting between the two leaders in as many months has brightened such a prospect.

TDP leaders said any more delay in an alliance formation would not be beneficial as the elections are approaching and any lingering ambiguity would confuse party workers and supporters.

Actor Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party, which has been a member of the NDA, has already joined hands with the TDP and has been urging the BJP to follow suit.

Kalyan also joined the meeting with Shah. Earlier, Naidu met with leaders, including MPs, of the TDP. The development comes amid growing indications that the BJP and the Biju Janata Dal, which is in power in Odisha, are on the verge of finalising their alliance as senior leaders of the two parties held separate meetings on Wednesday and dropped hints of such a possibility.

Naidu had met Shah and BJP president J P Nadda in February, bolstering speculation that they were headed for an alliance even though things have not crystallised so far.

Sources said both the parties have had differences over the number of seats the BJP would fight in the state where it does not have much presence.

The state has 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats and the BJP is keen to contest eight to 10 parliamentary constituencies. Sources in the TDP, however, said the BJP might contest on five to six Lok Sabha seats in case of an alliance, the Jana Sena three and their party the rest.

What has complicated matters for the BJP is that Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, the president of the YSR Congress, has been unambiguously supportive of the Modi government's agenda in Parliament and shares a good personal rapport with its senior leaders.

The BJP has been working to expand the NDA for some time as it eyes a bigger victory in the Lok Sabha polls, expected in April-May. With the ruling party eyeing a third term under Modi and having set a target for winning 370 seats on its own and 400 with allies, there is a view within the BJP that joining hands with regional parties positively disposed to its agenda will be helpful. 

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