TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his Jana Sena counterpart Pawan Kalyan held lengthy and detailed discussions at the former’s Jubilee Hills residence in Hyderabad on Sunday, 8 January.
The meeting was an indication that the alliance between the TDP and the Jana Sena was all but sealed. There has been no official announcement, despite an action plan being discussed.
The meeting took place three months after they both came together after many years in October.
It will now be interesting to see if the BJP joins the alliance. The saffron party is said to have been the central point of discussion between Naidu and Pawan Kalyan.
After the meeting, while Pawan Kalyan said he would talk to BJP leaders and explain to them the need for a joint Opposition, Naidu said the Centre should interfere in the “emergency-like” situation prevailing in Andhra Pradesh and set things right.
They also reiterated the need for all the Opposition parties to join hands against the situation prevailing in the state.
It may be noted that while Pawan has been batting for a BJP-TDP-Jana Sena alliance to fight YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP, the saffron party has been not so keen on it.
The ‘situation’ in Andhra Pradesh
The meeting between Naidu and Pawan Kalyan assumes significance in the wake of the YSRCP government issuing Government Order (GO) No 1 recently to prohibit roadshows and meetings on the roads.
It — and its ramifications — also happened to be another of the topics that the two are said to have discussed at length.
The GO has been opposed by the Opposition parties, who claimed it was issued to muzzle the voices of dissent against the ruling dispensation.
It may be noted that the GO followed 11 deaths over two instances of stampede-like situations at events that involved Naidu directly or indirectly.
As a result, Naidu was prevented by the police in Kuppam several times from addressing roadshows earlier this week.
During his tour of Kuppam last week, he also staged a sit-in and climbed atop his vehicle to address a gathering.
The GO may also jeopardise the plans of Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, who is set to embark on a 4,000-km padayatra from 27 January.
Meanwhile, Pawan Kalyan may launch his statewide tour on his specially-made campaign vehicle ‘Varahi’ any time, and the GO might interfere with that as well.
Call for a united Opposition
Thus it was that when Pawan Kalyan visited Naidu’s residence in Hyderabad, they discussed the GO comprehensively. They said that it, along with other things, had put Andhra Pradesh in a situation worse than the Emergency.
Naidu said that attempts were being made to stifle the voice of the Opposition parties in the state.
He announced that all the political parties along with people’s organisations would wage a combined war to save democracy in the state.
Pawan Kalyan, meanwhile, found fault with the state government for creating obstacles to Naidu’s tour in Kuppam.
Though the Jana Sena chief said that he called on Naidu only to express his solidarity with him, there appeared more to the meeting.
“The YSRCP government is acting in an atrocious manner, and enacted this British-era GO only to stifle the voice of the Opposition parties,” said the actor-politician.
“Pensions are being withdrawn at will, and no Minimum Support Price (MSP) is not being paid to farmers. All the Opposition parties want to fight unitedly against such tendencies of the state government,” he added.
“The attitude that no one should question the YSRCP government is highly condemnable. I will also talk to the BJP leaders on the need to put up a joint fight,” Pawan Kalyan said.
Naidu was of the opinion that it was really surprising that a leader who represented an Assembly segment seven times — Kuppam, in his case — was not allowed to visit his home constituency.
“Is it not the duty of the police to provide security when meetings are being organised?” he asked.
“This government does not want Pawan Kalyan and TDP national general secretary, Nara Lokesh, to undertake padayatra,” Naidu said.
He made it clear that the political parties and people’s organisations would wage a combined fight to save the democracy.
If necessary, the Central government should also step in, Naidu added.