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How Will TDPs Re-Entry Into NDA Benifit The BJP, Why Naidu Broke Alliance With Modi In 2018?

New Delhi: With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections just months away, the political landscape of the country is witnessing some major shifts. One of them is the imminent return of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The TDP, headed by former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, had quit the NDA in March 2018, accusing the BJP of ignoring its pleas to grant Special Category Status (SCS) to the state, which was bifurcated to create Telangana in 2014. The TDP had also moved a no-confidence motion against the Modi government in the Lok Sabha.

However, after almost six years of separation, the TDP is all set to join NDA, news agency ANI reported quoting a TDP spokesperson. TDP National Spokesperson Prem Kumar Jain said on Friday that the TDP, BJP and Jana Sena Party (JSP) will come to power in Andhra Pradesh in the next Assembly elections, which will be held along with the Lok Sabha polls.

The JSP, which is led by actor Pawan Kalyan and has been a member of the NDA, has already joined hands with the TDP. The state has 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats. The Lok Sabha elections are expected to be held in April-May.

On Thursday, Naidu and JSP chief Pawan Kalyan, who is also a popular actor, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda in Delhi. The meeting was seen as a precursor to the formal announcement of the alliance.

Why TDP Wants To Ally With BJP

According to political analysts, the TDP’s decision to re-enter the NDA fold is a win-win situation for both the parties. For the TDP, an alliance with the BJP will boost its electoral prospects and help it challenge the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), led by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.

A TDP MP told Indian Express that once the alliance is declared, Reddy will have to take on the BJP directly in the state, instead of supporting or helping it. “Currently, YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is helping or supporting the BJP. Once a TDP-BJP alliance is formally announced, he will be forced to take the BJP head-on in the state,” the MP said.

The TDP also wants to secure the Centre’s support, as Naidu faces several corruption cases in the state. He was arrested in September last year in connection with the alleged Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Corporation scam. The TDP-JSP alliance was announced while he was in jail.

How BJP Will Gain From TDP Tie-Up?

The BJP, on the other hand, will also benefit from the alliance with the TDP. The party believes that Naidu will help the NDA perform well in the state, which is dominated by the YSRCP. The BJP wants to expand its presence in the southern state, which is the only region where it has not established its electoral strength. A BJP leader told The Telegraph, “To achieve the 400-plus tally we need to win a good number of seats in southern states in addition to achieving saturation in the north, west and central states.”

The BJP, which has not been able to make a mark in Andhra Pradesh, is eyeing to increase its vote share and seat tally in the state. The party has set an ambitious target of winning 370 Lok Sabha seats on its own and 400 with allies, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

The TDP, while not a significant vote-catcher in Andhra, will bolster the BJP’s election machinery with its organisational might and experience.

BJP-TDP Alliance’s Past Performance In LS Polls

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and the TDP had fought together as part of the NDA and had won 19 seats — 16 by the TDP and three by the BJP — in undivided Andhra. After the formation of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh has 25 seats, of which the BJP hopes to contest on six-eight seats.

In 2019, when the two parties parted ways and fought separately, the TDP’s vote share remained almost intact but its seats dropped to just three. The BJP drew a blank and got only 0.98% of the votes, less than NOTA’s 1.5%.

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