Naidu reportedly under pressure to strike an alliance with BJP

The Telugu Desam Party members, who have become a permanent feature in the well of the Lok Sabha, are prepared to return to their seats on Monday, and allow the House to function if the Congress officially sets up a multi-party committee that will immediately begin to address the demands and concerns of the people of Seemandhra.

Speaking to The Hindu, party’s Rajya Sabha member C. M. Ramesh said: “The TDP is not opposed to the creation of Telangana. We have members across Andhra Pradesh, but are worried that after the State is divided, Telangana will get the assets, Seemandhara the liabilities. The government must first address those concerns.”

He said the TDP wanted Hyderabad given Union Territory status and made permanent joint capital of the two States, rather than joint capital only for 10 years, pending the creation of a new capital for Andhra and Rayalseema.

Mr. Ramesh’s statement comes against the backdrop of Congress floor managers alleging that the BJP -- or sections of the party – have set up the TDP to disrupt the proceedings to ensure that the Food Security Bill is not discussed in the Lok Sabha.

Indeed, a senior BJP leader said his party would like to see a BJP-TDP-Telangana Rashtra Samithi alliance in Andhra Pradesh.

It also comes two days after Finance Minister P. Chidambaram telling the Rajya Sabha that the Home Ministry was in the process of drafting a Cabinet note that would go into the sharing of assets and liabilities as well as the status of Hyderabad.

Thus far, the Congress’ appeals to the TDP MPs have failed, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had -- at the time of writing -- not managed to speak to the party’s supremo, N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was away in Bangalore.

Whether Mr. Naidu – once he is contacted – will oblige the Congress is unclear, but the fact is he is under pressure from his party colleagues to strike an alliance with the BJP. A day before Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Hyderabad on August 11, TDP sources told The Hindu, Mr Naidu was pressed by senior colleagues at a high-level party meeting to acknowledge the strong anti-Congress mood in Andhra Pradesh and tie up with the BJP for 2014.

Mr. Naidu, the sources said, responded by saying that he had heard them and would keep their views in mind when finally taking a decision. They added that Mr. Naidu would speak to AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav and Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav before taking any political step; he has already been in touch with all of them on the Telangana issue. TDP sources indicated that Mr. Naidu was concerned that a tie-up with the BJP, and one headed by Mr. Modi, could affect the party’s Muslim vote; he also wanted to assess the impact of Mr. Modi’s rally.