Many workers set to desert the party

Once bitten twice shy. That’s the situation Muslims find themselves in vis-à-vis their stand towards the Telugu Desam Party in the State. The TDP leadership’s tilt towards the BJP, especially its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, has set alarm bells ringing in the community. Not just the minority electorate but the leaders too are having second thoughts about their continuation in the party with Chandrababu Naidu gravitating towards Mr. Modi.

Some Muslim leaders associated with the TDP are planning to sever ties once the party openly allies with the BJP. Zahed Ali Khan, Polit Bureau member and editor, Siasat, is one of them. He has distanced himself from the TDP since the last Polit Bureau meeting. He has told Mr. Naidu in clear terms how his image and business would suffer if he remains in the party when the latter is inching closer to the saffron outfit.

“The day TDP makes a formal announcement of its alliance with BJP, I will quit,” said Mr. Khan, who is the prominent Muslim face of TDP.

The Aam Admi Party has sent feelers to Mr. Khan to join the party and be its candidate for the Hyderabad parliamentary seat. But Mr. Khan, who contested the Hyderabad seat unsuccessfully in 2009, has not given any affirmative reply yet.

Along with him, former TDP MLC, Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Masqati and a large number of minority workers are set to desert the party, it is said. However, party MLC Mohd Saleem is sure Mr. Naidu will not have any truck with the BJP.

Many feel the BJP might have had an outside chance of support from minorities had Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, been projected as the prime ministerial candidate instead of Mr. Modi. But Mr. Modi with the stigma of the Gujarat massacre is simply not acceptable. The community is aghast at Mr. Naidu’s drift towards the BJP when he had promised not to repeat the earlier ‘mistake’ of supporting the BJP-led NDA.