ANDHRA PRADESH

BJP forms three panels to assess prospects

HYDERABAD, FEB. 26. The Bharatiya Janata Party will talk to its alliance partner, Telugu Desam, on seat-sharing after assessing its strength in the districts.

The Union Minister of State for Urban Development, B. Dattatreya, the BJP State president, N. Indrasena Reddy, and the party spokesman, S.V. Seshagiri Rao, told newsmen here on Thursday that the party had constituted three teams for consulting district-level leaders and other senior functionaries on its chances in the elections. They said the three teams comprising Seshagiri Rao and K. Laxman, P.V. Chalapathi Rao and G. Kishan Reddy and K. Haribabu and Balakondaiah would take up the exercise district-wise on March 1 and 2. Based on the observations of the district units, the party would take up with the TDP the issue of seats it would like to contest.

Referring to the Congress-Telangana Rashtra Samiti tie-up, Mr. Indrasena Reddy said the development vindicated the stand taken by the BJP that the two parties were a single entity. The next stage would see merger of the TRS with the Congress, he said, adding that the BJP was now giving a call to all anti-Congress activists in the TRS to leave the party since its merger with the Congress was as good as over.

Mr. Reddy questioned the basis of the alliance, saying the deal was finalised despite the Congress ditching Telangana in the past. The TRS mortgaged the sentiment of Telangana to the All India Congress Committee president, Sonia Gandhi. It no longer talked about statehood for Telangana. It was more interested in strengthening its position and securing more seats.

He said the alliance being struck involved not only the Congress, the TRS and the Left parties but also the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen.

Mr. Dattatreya said there were some unidentified forces which played an important part in the alliance. The BJP would adopt `wait and watch' policy to know the impact of the alliance. The party would study whether it would have an adverse impact in coastal districts and how the people of Rayalaseema would take it.

The Union Minister felt that there would be many repercussions of the alliance in the coming days and they would help the TDP-BJP combine.