» Election » TDP gives in to TRS pressure, saves grand alliance

TDP gives in to TRS pressure, saves grand alliance

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
March 25, 2009 08:49 IST
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It was a night of high drama and tension at the residence of Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu.

The grand alliance of the opposition in Andhra Pradesh, which fell apart after the Telangana Rashtra Samiti snapped ties, was saved 24 hours later following the night-long talks between Naidu and a TRS delegation.

After intense negotiation, which continued into the wee hours on Wednesday, TRS and TDP finally reached a tentative agreement. But serous rifts have emerged within the TDP.

Under the agreement, which will be officially announced later on Wednesday, K Chandrasekkhara Rao-led TRS has been given 45 assembly seats and nine Lok Sabha seats while talks on another three assembly seats were still inconclusive.

The TRS will have to leave three seats from its quota for a Muslim political group Majlis Bachao Tehreek in the old city of Hyderabad to counter the pro-Congress Majlis-e-Iteehadul Muslimeen.

However, the decision to give 7 out of 12 assembly seats in Warangal district to the TRS has made TDP party men so angry that a worker tried to commit self immolation. But he was overpowered by others.

A senior party leader and a close confidante of Chandrababu Naidu, E Dayakar Rao, angrily walked out of Naidu's residence when his objections on giving some of the assembly seats in Warangal district were ignored. Dayakar Rao bitterly told Naidu that some leaders in the party were hell bent upon closing all the doors for him. His supporters held a noisy demonstration. When the situation became really tense Naidu had to come out of his residence and address the crowd.

"Problems come up when parties discuss about seat sharing and we have to make some sacrifices for the larger interest of the party and the state," he said.

He promised that the party leaders and workers of the constituencies given to other parties will be taken care of by the party.

The painfully slow talks ended at 3 am, almost 12 hours after they had resumed. After the TRS president announced severing his relationship with the four-party grand alliance on Monday night, Chandrababu Naidu had to personally contact Rao to save the alliance and resume the seat-sharing talks.

Rao was unhappy with the refusal of the TDP to give some of the assembly seats, which it wanted badly. In some places, the TDP left the seats that it had won in the last elections. This created a lot of bitterness in the party.

TDP legislator from Mancherial in Adilabad district, Sri Devi, resigned from the party and is likely to join the Praja Rajyam Party.

The TDP rank and file were disenchanted that Naidu had bowed to the blackmailing tactics of Chandrasekhara Rao and committed hara-kiri by leaving many strongholds of the TDP for the TRS.

The nine Parliamentary seats allotted to the TRS by the TDP include Adilabad, Nizamabad, Secunderabad, Peddapalle (all presently held by Congress), Mal kajgiri (new) Warangal and Nagarkurnool (held by TDP), Medak and Karimnagar (TRS).

Meanwhile, the TDP has also reached an agreement with the two Left parties -- CPI and the CPI-M -- under which they will get 16 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats each. The CPI-M has got Bhongir and Araku (ST) while CPI has got Nalgonda and Mahbubabad (ST) Lok Sabha seats. Of them, only Nalgonda seat was won by the CPI in 2004. But differences still persist with the Left demanding at least two more seats.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad