TAMIL NADU

MCH polls: TDP-BJP talks remain inconclusive

HYDERABAD, DEC. 22. The talks between the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the sharing of seats in the forthcoming Municipal elections remained inconclusive

though there was near unanimity on keeping their arch rivals - Congress and the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) away from power.

Senior leaders of both the parties met on Friday to exchange their views rather than finalising the seat sharing agreement, according to a BJP leader. It is said that the BJP stuck to its earlier stand of allotting 40 divisions to the party seeking the Mayor's post and the remaining 60 divisions to the other party.

The TDP was represented by the Home Minister, Mr. T. Devender Goud, TDP General Secretary, Mr. Lal Jan Basha and the Rajya Sabha member, Mr. P. Prabhakar Reddy while the BJP team consisted of Union Minister of State for Urban Affairs, Mr. Bandaru Dattatreya, party floor leader and deputy floor leader in the Assembly, Mr. N. Indrasena Reddy and Dr. K. Laxman respectively and the General Secretary, Mr. P. Venugopal Reddy.

The BJP which is seeking a major share is said to have made it clear to the TDP that they would not deviate from their stand and it was for the TDP to decide. "The talks were held in cordial atmosphere. We explained our position and they responded well", said Dr. Laxman. The TDP team, which also put forth its proposals would get back to the BJP after discussing with the Chief Minister, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Though both the parties had some differences on the contours of the seat agreement they seem to have decided on working out a plan that would improve their chances of capturing the Municipal Council and nullify the efforts of the Congress and the MIM. "We want to keep the Congress and the MIM away from power", Dr. Laxman said.

The discussions were not confined to just MCH elections. Elections proposed for Rajahmundry and Tiruputi corporations and the municipalities of Hindupur, Gaddiannaram, Kasibugga and Palasa also figured in the meeting. The BJP asked for Hindupur and Gaddiannaram apart from 60 per cent wards in Rajahmundry Corporation and 15 wards in the Tirupati Corporation. However, there was no commitment from the ruling party. It was decided to hold the next round of meeting in two or three days.