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After Pawan Kalyan criticism, TDP to go it alone in 2019 Andhra assembly polls

In his remaks, Pawan Kalyan stated that Jana Sena Party’s ‘honeymoon with the TDP is over’ and questioned the ruling party’s commitment towards the demand for special category status for AP. File photo: AFPPremium
In his remaks, Pawan Kalyan stated that Jana Sena Party’s ‘honeymoon with the TDP is over’ and questioned the ruling party’s commitment towards the demand for special category status for AP. File photo: AFP

Jana Sena Party leader Pawan Kalyan hurled allegations of corruption against the TDP and Andhra minister Nara Lokesh, son of CM N. Chandrababu Naidu at a public event in Vijayawda

Hyderabad: Taken aback by criticism from its ally Jana Sena Party (JSP), the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh is now preparing to contest the 2019 assembly elections on its own.

As the TDP is expected to formally leave the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the coming days, according to senior TDP leaders who did not want to be identified.

SP leader, actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan hurled allegations of corruption against the TDP and state information minister Nara Lokesh, son of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at a public event in Vijayawda on Wednesday.

“We feel Bharatiya Janata Party is propping up Kalyan because in the address the Jana Sena leader did not mention (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s name at all. Till last week he was only talking about Modi and was blaming the Centre for everything. This could be a play to cut down our votes," said a senior TDP leader from AP, who was unwilling to be identified.

In his remaks, Kalyan stated that his party’s “honeymoon with the TDP is over" and questioned the ruling party’s commitment towards the demand for special category status (SCS) for AP.

Prior to that, Kalyan along with other party leaders had formed a joint action committee—without the TDP—to look into the facts on SCS, and hit out at the Centre for not giving it to the state. A press release from his office said that the JSP’s manifesto for the 2019 assembly and parliamentary elections will be launched on 14 August.

On Wednesday, Kalyan also censured opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, alleging he was only interested in coming to power.

The TDP, BJP and JSP had formed an alliance in the 2014 assembly and general elections in AP. Though the JSP did not contest, it is believed that Kalyan’s influence over the Kapu community (believed to be about 20 % of AP’s population) helped the TDP win all the seats in the East and West Godavari districts and some in other districts.

“It will mostly be a quadrangular contest. The alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not mean anything to us, as we are with the NDA simply to ensure that funds meant for AP are not blocked. But there is a possibility that our vote share will be cut by a some margin if JSP contests alone," the TDP leader told Mint.

“Pawan Kalyan is testing waters and after the statements he made yesterday it will be suicidal to go with the TDP, as the YSRCP will take advantage of it. Kalyan probably sees a huge opportunity in winning many seats and becoming king himself. For him, being the kingmaker like in the 2014 elections, will be second choice," said political analyst Palwai Reghavendra Reddy.

Reddy added that Kalyan can take the anti-incumbency votes away from the YSRCP and the Kapu votes from the TDP. “The latter is more likely as of now and it might dent the Telugu Desam’s prospects," he pointed out.

A JSP office bearer, who also sought anonymity, pointed out that alliance between Kalyan and the TDP as of now has not been broken.

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