Even as they grapple with seat-sharing, the BJP and the TDP face a tricky variable — negative perception of the State-level party in Telangana and of the national party in Seemandhra over bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
It took a bit of persuasion by the BJP national leadership right from its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, to make Telangana unit president G. Kishan Reddy agree to seat-sharing.
Although many senior leaders from Telangana were in favour of a tie-up, Mr. Reddy and some other younger functionaries opposed it on the ground that any understanding with the TDP might turn out to be a liability for the BJP in the region.
By opposing bifurcation, the TDP touched a raw nerve in the region. The BJP, by cooperating with the United Progressive Alliance in getting the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill passed, faces a similar predicament in Seemandhra.
The contradictory stands of the two parties have now become stumbling blocks in the seat-sharing talks, which hit a fresh road block on Saturday evening.
Mr. Reddy wanted the party to contest all 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana on its own.RSS line
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh took the same line, with an eye on a larger political space and stronger base for the BJP in the region.
Finally, the BJP national leadership deputed senior leader Prakash Javadekar to hold talks with RSS functionaries and bring about consensus among the party leaders in the region on forging an alliance.
After asking for almost half the number of Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana, the BJP leaders have scaled down the demand to 45-48 Assembly and nine Lok Sabha seats.
The Seemandhra BJP unit brought down the figure from 25 to 18 Assembly constituencies, but wants five Lok Sabha constituencies.
TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, however, is not willing to accept the BJP’s argument that recent surveys revealed that his party’s vote share had fallen to eight per cent in Telangana and that the BJP’s increased to 15 per cent. He offered the BJP 35 Assembly and seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana and three Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats in Seemandhra.Talks
Even as talks between Mr. Javadekar and TDP leaders continued on Saturday, BJP leaders are confident that the party would do well in both regions in case the alliance breaks up. They expect more defections from the Congress to the BJP, and say other factors such as film star Pawan Kalyan’s campaign will boost its chances in Seemandhra.
They feel that Mr. Modi’s popularity will help the party overcome any negative perception in Seemandhra.
All these raise the question whether the two parties would not be better off with a post-election tie-up.