Amit Shah-Chandrababu Naidu meeting rekindles rumours of BJP-TDP alliance

The meeting took place against the backdrop of the TDP's growing anxiety to strike an alliance with the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jun 04, 2023 | 11:40 AM Updated Jun 04, 2023 | 11:41 AM

File photo of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

The tug of war continues. TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu had a tete-a-tete with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday, 3 June.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of the yellow party’s growing anxiety to strike an alliance with the saffron party in the next elections in 2024.

Though the BJP does not draw any water in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP wants to be pally with it for the simple reason that the BJP is in power at the Centre and can make and unmake many things in which Naidu has interests.

Related: Jana Sena-TDP alliance all but sealed

The meeting

After arriving in Delhi with his MPs, including Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar, Kesineni Nani, K Rammohan Naidu, and former MP Kambhampati Ramamohan Rao, Naidu first went to MP Galla Jayadev’s residence and later drove to Amit Shah’s residence and met him all by himself.

The meeting lasted for about an hour. As the meeting was in progress, BJP national president JP Nadda joined them.

Interestingly, this is the first time that Naidu met Amit Shah after the TDP exited the NDA in 2018.

There has been speculation that since Nadda, too, joined the meeting, Naidu and the two of the BJP’s top guns might have discussed the possible alliances in the next elections.

Already, broad contours have emerged as to which party would be on whose sides in Andhra Pradesh, though some loose ends are yet to be tied up.

The TDP and the Jana Sean of Pawan Kalyan are on one side, and the two-party axis is trying to pull the BJP to its side.

The reason given is that it is the only way to prevent a split in the anti-YSRCP vote.

However, the BJP has till now remained cold or at best lukewarm to the TDP’s overtures of friendship.

The BJP wants Pawan Kalyan but not with TDP baggage, but the Naidu-Pawan duo wants the BJP to be part of their alliance to fight the elections.

Related: Pawan Kalyan, Chandrababu Naidu move for joint Opposition

Both TDP, YSRCP want BJP

The Naidu-Amit Shah meeting took place close on the heels of a similar pow-wow between YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Amit Shah on the day of the inauguration of the new Parliament building complex last Sunday.

Jagan’s critics say he tried to ingratiate himself with the BJP dispensation at that meeting.

Jagan is bent on doing anything in his power to prevent Naidu from striking an alliance with the BJP.

For one thing, he does not want TDP to have any leverage off the BJP which might help it at the hustings.

Then again, Jagan might be being nice to the BJP for other reasons, too.

His critics always raise the disproportionate assets case which has been hanging fire for years. They say that as long as Jagan is in the good books of the BJP, the CBI would not be able to touch him.

They also say if he is friends with the BJP, the CBI cannot touch Kadapa MP YS Avinash Reddy, in whom he has an interest.

Avinash Reddy is facing allegations of having a hand in the assassination of his paternal uncle and former AP Minister YS Vivekananda Reddy.

Viveka murder case: Avinash Reddy gets anticipatory bail

BJP doesn’t want to choose

Though TDP does not have any qualms over the Hindutva agenda of the BJP, the YSRCP wants to remain a covert friend with the saffron party lest it should ruffle the feathers of the Muslims who are perceived to have moved to the YSRCP in the wake of the natural death that the Congress has died in Andhra Pradesh.

Both Naidu and Jagan need the BJP very badly. They did not hesitate a minute to extend solidarity with the prime minister when most of the Opposition parties cried hoarse over how undemocratic it was not to invite President Droupadi Murmu to inaugurate the new Parliament building last Sunday and gave a boycott call.

Jagan personally attended the ceremony while Naidu, who was busy with Mahanadu in Rajahmundry, sent his team to attend the function.

One analyst said: “The interesting paradox is that both the TDP and the YSRCP want the BJP exclusively, but the BJP wants both of them. In the wake of odds stacking up against the saffron party, which was in evidence in Karnataka, it wants to keep both parties in good humour. If it falls short of numbers after the 2024 elections, it could count on both Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy for the support of their MPs.”