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Our grand alliance will beat Congress: Naidu

By E T B Sivapriyan in New Delhi
April 18, 2009 11:41 IST
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When it comes to creating a Telangana state, both the Telugu Desam Party and Congress have reneged on their commitment made in 2004, but TDP supreme Chandrababu Naidu feels it is his rival that will pay dearly.

Naidu, who once roared for a 'united Andhra', is now crying foul about Congress's betrayal of the Telangana cause.

In an interview to PTI, Naidu -- who was once referred as Andhra's CEO -- said the Congress' about-face on Telangana and Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's 'corrupt' image would do wonders for the TDP in the assembly polls.

Last time, the Congress had aligned with the pro-separatist Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the CPI-M and CPI, although the two Left parties were against dividing the state. They had then joined hands to dislodge the TDP.

This time around, the Left and TRS have come together with TDP to float what Naidu calls as the 'Grand Alliance' to beat the Congress.

"Our alliance with the TRS and the two Left parties is a major advantage," said Naidu, whose party last year resolve to support the pro-Telangana movement.

"Our party deliberated the (Telangana) matter for well over 2 years in various fora. A committee was set up for consultations on this issue and for seeking opinion from different sections of the people from across the state," he said.

Andhra has already completed elections to 22 Lok Sabha seats and 154 assembly constituencies in the first phase on April 16. The remaining 20 Lok Sabha seats and 140 assembly seats will go to polls on April 23.

"It (turning pro-Telangana) was a decision by the party in deference to the wishes of the people of the state," Naidu said.

However, this change of heart in October 2008 came just two months after matinee idol Chiranjeevi launched own party.

"While we have changed our position in the interest of the people, Congress went back on its commitment to create a separate Telangana and betrayed the people true to its hallmark of political opportunism," Naidu said.

The TDP chief accused Reddy of "singing different tunes" now on the issue and "in the process Congress has clearly exposed itself as a blatant opportunist".

Reddy has turned on the anti-Telangana pitch during his campaigning, although in the last election he had promised to consider the demand for a separate Telangana.

Naidu also believes that TDP's "credibility among the people, record of my sincerity and hard work for the comprehensive development of the state and the people during 1995-2004, Cash Transfer Scheme to the poor and the middle classes and our vision for development of the state will smoothly take us to the victory post."

The TDP's poll promises this time includes a Cash Transfer Scheme that aims at directly crediting assistance of up to Rs 2,000 to the poor in their no-frills bank accounts.

"In my view, the scheme is the panacea for our six-decade long failure to address the problem of poverty and attendant issues."

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E T B Sivapriyan in New Delhi
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