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Published On: Thu, Jan 24th, 2019

Priyanka Effect? Congress Drops Alliance In Bengal, TDP will go it alone in AP

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mamta -nayduNEW DELHI : A day after Congress announced that it would fight the elections in Andhra Pradesh on its own, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu Thursday indicated that his party, the TDP, too would not have any electoral tie-up with the national party in the state. Alliances in states would be based on the wishes of respective parties, he told Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders during a teleconference.

The Congress, which has often pitched for a grand opposition coalition to defeat the BJP in the national election due by May, is believed to have remodeled its strategy and decided to fly solo in more than one state. Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are among them.
AICC general secretary and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said the Congress party would contest all 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats alone. “The TDP allied with us only at the national level, so we will have no truck (with it) in the state,” Chandy had said. The TDP chief Thursday alleged that the YSR Congress and BJP were engaged in committing crimes and heinous acts while the TRS wanted an inefficient person in power. “All these (parties) only know to hatch conspiracies,” he said.

Naidu referred to his governments decision to earmark five per cent reservation for upper caste Kapus of the ten per cent quota for economically weaker sections provided by the Centre recently and wanted to know the YSR Congress and the BJPs stand on the matter. The YSR congress chief, Jagan Mohan Reddy, previously said Kapu reservation was not in his purview and now he is opposing five per cent quota to the community, Naidu claimed. BJP found fault with the Kapu quota, he added.

The Chief Minister said his government not only fulfilled all promises made in the TDPs 2014 election manifesto but also did much more.”We promised Rs 1000 as (social security) pension but now we have enhanced it to Rs 2000. We promised Rs 10,000 each to self-help group women but are now giving Rs 20,000. We doubled the income of 97 per cent farmers in the state,” Naidu claimed.

The party made it official in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, a day after Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s meeting with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi. The Congress will contest all 25 parliamentary seats in the national polls and all 175 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, announced party leader Oommen Chandy.
This means no Grand Alliance between the Congress and Mr Naidu’s ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh. The two parties had tied up for the recent Telangana election but the results were disastrous. There was no chemistry and the two consider each other as liabilities.
For the Congress, the TDP was a dead weight in Telangana; for Mr Naidu, the Congress is of no use in Andhra, where there is immense public anger against the party seen to have bifurcated Andhra Pradesh and presided over the birth of Telangana. Also, Jagan Mohan Reddy of the opposition YSR Congress is striding across Andhra Pradesh like a mini-colossus with multiple roadshows.

But a behind-the-scenes understanding between the Congress and the TDP cannot be ruled out.Mr Naidu has made it clear since the beginning that that their alliance was made only for Telangana and the mahagathbandhan will work at the Central level. Politically, it is a better strategy for the two parties to contest separately in Andhra Pradesh as it would split the anti-TDP votes, reducing the numbers of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
In Uttar Pradesh, sources in the Congress and the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav camp say Congress entry in 80 seats of the state will only hit the BJP, cutting away its Brahmi-Thakur votes. In West Bengal, any alliance between the Congress and Mamata Banerjee is virtually ruled out. The Bengal Congress wants no truck with “Mamata-di” – as Rahul Gandhi had addressed her in his message of support for her mega opposition unity show on Saturday in Kolkata. Mr Gandhi didn’t attend the event but sent two representatives, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mallikarjun Kharge.
For the Trinamool, an alliance with the Congress is a burden as it will mean having to share seats with it, seats it would possibly win on its own. Trinamool does not need the Congress, which has withered in Bengal over the years with many lawmakers crossing over to the Trinamool. With Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi in the picture – even if her formal debut takes place far away in Uttar Pradesh – the Congress rank and file have found confidence.
“The Congress will not play on the back foot anywhere. We will play on the front foot,” Rahul Gandhi said moments after announcing his sister’s plunge into politics. That may be true not just for Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress was dumped by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. In Delhi too, new state Congress chief Sheila Dikshit indicated that any alliance with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is a remote possibility though Mr Kejriwal himself has even today not entirely ruled it out.
Party leaders, however, say the Congress is still planning on alliances with Sharad Pawar’s NCP in Maharashtra, the UDF in Kerala, MK Stalin’s DMK in Tamil Nadu, the Janata Dal Secular in Karnataka, RJD in Bihar and JMM in Jharkhand.
(With Agency Inputs ).




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