Is Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP looking to tie-up with the BJP again? How will this impact 2024 Lok Sabha elections?

Is Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP looking to tie-up with the BJP again? How will this impact 2024 Lok Sabha elections?

Feb 8, 2024 - 15:30
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Is Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP looking to tie-up with the BJP again? How will this impact 2024 Lok Sabha elections?

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are months away. But there are big developments taking place, which could turn the political scenario of the country. On Wednesday, rumours began circulating of a possible reunion between the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu landed in Delhi and is scheduled to meet with Home Minister Amit Shah.

What’s going on? Why is the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) courting the TDP? Does this move benefit Naidu?

We take a closer look at what’s going on and the implications of a reunion between the TDP and the BJP.

TDP’s ghar wapsi to the NDA?

Former Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu arrived in the Capital on Wednesday evening and is expected meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda later on Thursday.

A Times of India report quoting sources said that Naidu was in Delhi for what is being described as ‘exploratory talks’ with the BJP. In addition to Naidu, several senior party leaders have also travelled and will be part of the meeting.

Media report stated that the TDP will seek clarity from the BJP on a possible tie-up and hold discussions on what seat-sharing would look like in the state. Currently, the TDP is in alliance with the Jana Sena Party headed by popular actor Pawan Kalyan to fight the upcoming elections together in Andhra Pradesh. The Jana Sena Party, in turn, has an alliance with the BJP in the state.

“The TDP has agreed to let go of four seats, but the BJP wants to field candidates on at least 10 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” a BJP leader was quoted as telling Deccan Herald.

Telugu Desam Party National chief N Chandrababu Naidu with Jana Sena Party president Pawan Kalyan. The two have stitched up an alliance in the state. File image/PTI

If the talks today go well, then it paves the way for the TDP’s return to the NDA.

This comes after the former CM had walked out of the NDA in 2018 in protest against non-implementation of promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, including granting of special category status to Andhra Pradesh. The TDP had also voted against the Modi government in the trust vote.

However, in the following years both parties have expressed a desire to come together. Buzz around TDP’s re-entry into the NDA first surfaced in July last year when Naidu met with Shah and Nadda. But the talks didn’t yield any result at that time. “It did not make political sense at that point,” one of Naidu’s aides told Deccan Herald.

Another meet was then held in August last year during a programme, which commemorated the life of TDP founder founder NTR Rama Rao at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. As a Naidu aide told the Indian Express that talks between the TDP-Jana Sena party (JSP) combine and the BJP have been on for some time.

What will be the impact of a BJP-TDP alliance?

Poll pundits are of the opinion that TDP’s re-entry into the NDA fold is a win-win situation for both sides.

For the TDP, an alliance with the BJP is beneficial electorally. According to the leadership of the party, joining hands with the BJP would lift its stature and give it equal footing to the ruling Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress. A TDP MP was quoted as telling Indian Express, “Currently, YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is helping or supporting the BJP. Once a TDP-BJP alliance is formally announced, he will be forced to take the BJP head-on in the state.”

On the other hand, the BJP will also benefit from such an alliance. Those in the BJP believe that Naidu will help the NDA perform well in the state that is ruled by the YSR Congress. It would help the BJP expand its footprint in the southern state — the only region where the party is still to establish its electoral strength. As one BJP leader told The Telegraph, “To achieve the 400-plus tally we need to win a good number of seats in southern states in addition to achieving saturation in the north, west and central states.”

The Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP was part of the NDA until 2018. The party left the ruling alliance then in protest over the special category status to Andhra Pradesh. File image/PTI

For the unaware, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the call of ‘Ab ki baar 400 paar’ in Lok Sabha on 5 February (Monday).

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP-TDP combine had fought together and had won 19 seats — 16 by the TDP and three by the BJP — in undivided Andhra. After Telangana’s creation, Andhra Pradesh has 25 seats, of which BJP hopes to contest on six-eight seats.

A re-entry of the TDP into the NDA fold will also deliver a body blow to the INDIA bloc. The Naidu-led party has steered clear of the Opposition grouping. However, by joining hands with the BJP, it sends a clear signal to the opposing parties, pushing their morale even lower.

How is the NDA shopping for more allies?

As the Lok Sabha elections draw closer, the BJP is shoring up its alliances, in an attempt to realise Modi’s dream of ‘Ab ki baar 400 paar’.

Earlier in January, the BJP snapped up Nitish Kumar to its side in Bihar yet again. And now, it has launched a determined effort to close a deal with the Uttar Pradesh-based Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), headed by Jayant Chaudhary, grandson of the late Chaudhary Charan Singh.

Multiple media reports cite that the BJP is wooing Chaudhary away from the Samajwadi Party. NDTV reported on Wednesday (7 February) that the BJP has offered the RLD five parliamentary seats and two ministerial berths. While the RLD has remained mum, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav was quoted as saying, “He is a very well-educated person… understands politics.”

Moreover, the Times of India has reported that the BJP is also in talks with the Akali Dal, which left NDA to protest, against the farm bills, for a fresh tie-up. It is being reported that Akali chief Sukhbir Singh Badal has held preliminary talks with the BJP for an alliance in the state of Punjab where both parties are struggling.

With inputs from agencies

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