While the Congress lost the possibility of gaining an important ally in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in Andhra Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party clinched a crucial electoral deal with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu on Saturday.
After first turning down a proposal for merger with the Congress, TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao ruled out an alliance with the party in the coming elections. He, however, expressed his willingness to support the Congress if it was in a position to form a government at the Centre.
There was no question of any alliance because the Congress had denigrated the TRS with ‘let them come, we will consider’ remarks, Mr. Rao said at a press conference on Saturday after a meeting of the party’s election committee. It was decided to release 65-70 names for the Assembly polls and 10 for the Lok Sabha elections in the first phase on Monday.
Expressing his willingness to enter into a pact with the CPI and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which he called “our party,” Mr. Rao said the objective of the TRS was to form a government in Telangana. Mr. Rao cited a recent survey by NDTV, which gave the TRS 11 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress five and the MIM one, to indicate that there was no alternative to the TRS and the Congress in Telangana. He, however, appealed to people to put the Telangana government in the “safe hands” of the TRS as the Congress had done precious little to develop the region in the 10 years of its rule.
Seven TDP MLAs joined the TRS in the last few days and seven more, according to him, are waiting in the wings. Mr. Rao earlier told a meeting of party workers that it would be a showdown between the TRS and the Congress henceforth.
While the Congress fortunes dipped in Hyderabad, the BJP found cause for hope in Chennai by piecing together an alliance with the DMDK led by actor Vijayakant. Two other regional parties, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, are already committed to seat adjustments with the BJP.