The Jana Sena Party (JSP) on Thursday announced that it is tying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Andhra Pradesh. The new tie-up could change the arithmetic in the state’s politics in the coming days if it succeeds in making an impact. The announcement comes after the actor-turned-politician Kalyan met BJP working president J.P. Nadda earlier this week in New Delhi.
Addressing a joint press conference at Vijayawada on Thursday, the JSP chief said that the decision to ally with the BJP was done keeping “the interest of the state". Kalyan’s decision comes at a time when all the opposition parties in AP are protesting against the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), led by chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, for announcing its intention to decentralise the capital, instead of developing Amaravati.
“BJP and Jana Sena will work together and come to power in the 2024 elections. We are going to work together for the betterment of people in the state. We will work together to finish the ‘dynasty raj’," said BJP’s AP in-charge Sunil Deodhar, during the joint press conference. He added that the YSRCP-run government “has failed to fulfil the aspirations" (of the people).
Deodhar categorically also stated that the BJP will not have any alliance with the TDP or YSRCP in the coming days. “The alliance with Jana Sena is an ideological alliance," he mentioned. It may be recalled that the TDP and BJP had a pre-poll alliance before the 2014 state and assembly polls, which was supported by Kalyan. The alliance triumphed over the YSRCP and Naidu became the chief minister from 2014-19.
However, midway in 2018, Naidu broke the alliance over AP not being given Special Category Status, something that the BJP said is not possible. Following that, the TDP, BJP and JSP contested the 2019 state and assembly polls separately, which only benefited the YSRCP (as it won), as all three opposition parties failed miserably. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party won a staggering 151 assembly seats (out of 175) and also won 22 of the Lok Sabha constituencies.
JSP, on the other hand, drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections and managed to win just one assembly seat. The TDP won 23 assembly seats and three parliamentary constituencies (since then one MLA quit the party). Reacting to the development, a senior TDP leader, who did not want to be quoted, said that as of now Naidu will wait and see how things develop. “It is better for us if there is more pressure on Jagan with regard to Amaravati’s future. We don’t have to have an alliance now, as there are four years more for elections," he added.
The whole issue over Amaravati’s future has come under question ever since the state government-appointed expert committee recommended last month to decentralise the capital by relocating the secretariat in Visakhapatnam (in north coastal Andhra), High Court in Kurnool (in the Rayalaseema area) and to have to the governor’s office and state assembly in Amaravati.
It was followed by the state government setting-up a “high-power committee" to examine the recommendations of the Expert committee, after protests broke out against the decision.The recommendations, if implemented, will undo everything that Naidu had planned for Amaravati, which was to be developed as a global city.
Farmers in the Amaravati capital city region have been up in arms mainly because Naidu’s (previous AP) government had pooled in 33,000 acres of farm land from hundreds of them to develop Amaravati. They are opposed to the decentralisation as they gave up their farm lands and were promised lands in the capital post its development (apart from a monthly income of ₹2,500 per acre, that they receive as compensation since they are not farming).