Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Jagan Reddy Won’t Try Any Pre-Poll Alliances In AP?

By Saye Sekhar | Hyderabad

Why is YS Jaganmohan Reddy not open to a pre-poll alliance with any political party? Jagan desires to leave the door ajar for a post-poll alliance with the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the hot favourite to occupy the treasury benches in the Parliament.

In the seat-sharing talks between the Telugu Desam Party and the BJP too, there seems to be a deadlock -- a natural part of any negotiation process -- but it's not all over yet with the state unit of the BJP stating that the central party leadership will make the final decision. 
The TDP is worried that if its bid for a pre-poll pact with the BJP peters out, it will be advantage Jagan Reddy. Jagan has made it amply clear in a few TV interviews that he is not averse to aligning his YSR Congress with the BJP and Modi, describing the latter as a "modern day politician who has eschewed the archaic thought process." 

He has also acknowledged the 'administrative skills' of Modi and his 'development agenda'. Jagan, time and again, has asserted that whoever guarantees the overall development of Andhra Pradesh will get his support. He has also unequivocally ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress party, blaming the Congress for pushing Andhra Pradesh into a political quagmire and denting its development which was multiplying in geometric progression as long as his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy was alive.

In spite of repeated assertions by Jagan that he would not align with the Congress, his observation in an interview to INNLIVE quite some time ago that he would not mind supporting a "secular UPA" at the Centre is being used by his detractors to highlight that a merger of the YSR Congress with the Indian National Congress is possible. 

Nevertheless, Jagan's contention is that he cannot consider an alliance with the Congress, which he holds responsible for "foisting false cases and imprisoning" him. Jagan is said to be of the strong view that he would garner a large number of Lok Sabha seats - anywhere between 23 and 27 in both regions of Andhra Pradesh together - and that gives him greater bargaining power at the Centre. 

The support of such a large number of MPs will be required for any coalition to form government in Delhi. Still, though he foresees Modi standing ahead of others after the elections, Jagan cannot offer to enter a pre-poll pact with the BJP for three reasons: 1. The vote bank his party is nursing includes Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and in some pockets, the backward classes. 

These sections may not like the YSRC joining hands with the BJP. 2. The BJP openly supported the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Jagan's party has taken a diametrically opposite stand on this issue. Jagan wants himself to be seen as the champion of the united Andhra cause. 3. As his domain has shrunk to just 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the Seemaandhra region, he is staying focused on these constituencies and doesn't want to leave many seats in a seat-sharing adjustment. 

The YSR Congress is confident that it would secure a very comfortable, perhaps an absolute, majority in Seemandhra region both in the Assembly and Lok Sabha, enabling it to form the government in the about-to-be-formed Andhra Pradesh (or the residual Andhra Pradesh). Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu, in an interview given to TV5 on Friday, said that the BJP was not averse to taking the support of the YSR Congress led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the post-poll scenario. 

Though there is a speculation that there can be an alliance for the YSRC with the Communist Party of India-Marxists, the demands of the latter may not be acceptable to the former. However, the two parties are yet to sit at the negotiating table, if they need to seal the deal. Jagan cannot entertain the other Communist party, the CPI, as it has taken a pro-Telangana stand. 

Also, CPI's state secretary K Narayana made several vitriolic remarks against Jagan in the last three years, thinking that the CPI could be embraced by the TDP in alliance. The prospect of an electoral alliance between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has hit a roadblock in Telangana region, which would go to polls in the united Andhra Pradesh. As things appear on the political canvas, the TRS has now almost slammed the door on the face of the Congress. 

Though the love-hate relationship between the TRS and the Congress has either ebbed or peaked in the last several years, KCR has chosen to go it alone and begun giving a nebulous picture on the prospect of a poll alliance with the Congress. KCR firmly believes that the TRS may get anywhere between 50 to 60 Assembly seats and eight Lok Sabha seats to contest, if it goes for an alliance. 

The TRS believes it will win only 40 Assembly seats. The party is very strong in North Telangana. It will have to forego a few Assembly seats and some Lok Sabha seats as part of the quid pro quo arrangement with the Congress. TRS leader Harish Rao and even KCR have indicated that the TRS would win in at least 75 Assembly seats and 12 Lok Sabha constituencies on its own. 

Even if it cannot measure up to its own expectations, the TRS leadership is now under the impression that it can manage victory in over 50 seats. By throwing its weight behind the BJP in the post-poll scenario, the TRS nurses an ambition to enlist its support so that both governments at the Centre and the State would be interdependent. 

The Congress, on the other hand, has almost tied up with the Communist Party of India by leaving Khammam Lok Sabha and eight Assembly seats in Telangana region. Talks for a BJP-TDP tie-up have entered a crucial phase. Prakash Javadekar, the BJP's in-charge of AP affairs, has held several rounds of parleys with TDP leaders 'Sujana' Chowdary and CM Ramesh and was closeted with Chandrababu Naidu for almost two hours. 

The BJP is demanding 45-48 Assembly seats and nine Lok Sabha seats in the seat-sharing agreement in Telangana, and five Lok Sabha seats along with 25 Assembly seats in Seemandhra region. For now, the talks have hit a standoff. Each side feels the other is punching above its weight.
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