The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh released its first list of 115 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections, which are set to be held with the Lok Sabha polls on 11 April, on Thursday night. The names included that of AP IT minister (and son of TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu) Nara Lokesh who will contest from the Mangalagiri constituency in the upcoming capital of Amaravati.
Naidu will also re-contest from the Kuppam seat in Chittoor district, which he won in the 2009 and 2014 polls as well. The TDP also held its polit bureau meeting late on Thursday night in the capital region.
A senior TDP leader said that Naidu might also announce some names of candidates for the 25 Lok Sabha seats. “Candidates are fighting for the assembly seats, and less for the parliament seats. A sitting cabinet minister has been asked to contest the Ongole Lok Sabha seat, but his supporters do not want that. In fact they are protesting in front of the chief minister’s house for the same," he informed.
The TDP leader added that there might be a few more defections from the TDP to the YSRCP and vice versa by legislators and other leaders who will not party tickets. “TDP will declare all of its assembly and Lok Sabha candidates in the next two days," he informed. Naidu will also begin his election campaign from 16 March after seeking blessings of lord Tirumala at Tirupathi. He will start with addressing party booth convenors.
In the coming elections, the TDP will face the main opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which is led by its president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Unlike in 2014, the TDP will be going to polls without an alliance. In the previous elections, it had a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was also supported by the actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party (JSP).
However, the TDP-BJP alliance broke in March last year, and JSP also has since then withdrawn support to the TDP, with Kalyan announcing earlier this year that his party will contest the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in an alliance with the left parties.