In his 40 years long political career, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has never faced a dilemma like he’s confronting this election. The TDP supremo seems to be caught between the devil and deep blue sea. He knows very well that forging an alliance with the BJP will harm his party in the long run and if he does not make a move then he cannot alone face the formidable YSRCP in the ensuing Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh.
The opposition leader appears to have weighed the pros and cons of entering a pre-poll alliance with the saffron party. He also needs the support of Kapu voters and hence he onboarded Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party in the scheme of things.
However, the present BJP under Modi and Shah is not the same party that allied with Chandrababu in the past under Vajpayee and Advani. In the past, Naidu had walked out of the NDA alliance prompting a sharp response from the BJP leadership. The saffron party has no reason to trust Naidu, who has earned a reputation for political opportunism. It is well known how in the past, Naidu betrayed the BJP after grabbing power with their support in 1999 and 2014.
Recently, Naidu went to New Delhi to hold discussions with the BJP leadership pertaining to the pre-poll alliance between their parties. It is learnt that the BJP has put tough demands before Naidu this time around. Reportedly, the BJP wants over 40 seats in Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, Jana Sena is expecting more than 25 seats as part of the alliance. This means Naidu’s party will have to surrender over 60 seats to the allies before going to polls in the state.
If Naidu concedes 60 seats in this manner, what will be left for loyal TDP workers? Moreover, it is doubtful whether the TDP will support the candidates of BJP and Jana Sena in the ensuing elections. Not to forget the rebel TDP members who may wreak havoc before the elections if they are denied tickets for contesting elections.
Accepting the BJP's terms for alliance means compromising the TDP's success rate and refusing it will be a game over for the party even before the polls. Naidu seems unable to counter CM Jagan's political strategy.