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Published in the 1-15 June 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

TDP may part ways with BJP

By M. Mazharul Haque

The Milli Gazette Online

New Delhi: Chinks have appeared in the ties between TDP and BJP over the latter’s return to the Hindutva ideology after defeat in the general elections. The straining of ties between the two parties became evident on May 9 when TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said that his party’s tie up with BJP had a negative effect on its minority votebank in last year’s Assembly elections in AP despite his government’s numerous steps for their welfare because of the BJP’s association with Gujarat riots. 

Naidu said that he was anguished by the post-Godhra riots and that he had asked for the resignation of Gujarat CM Narendara Modi, which the BJP had rejected. In protest, his party had refused to accept the Lok Sabha speakership after the death of TDP incumbent GMC Balayogi.

As a clear sign of the strains in the NDA ranks, the TDP ended its support to the BJP-led boycott of parliament in the first week of May. According to TDP sources, the party might sever ties with the BJP during the maha nadu, or state executive meet, to be held during May 28-30.

A day after the TDP chief’s observations, BJP vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu returned the favour by saying that "some people in our party are of the opinion that the anti-incumbency factor in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh affected our performance in the Lok Sabha elections".

Soon NDA convenor George Fernandes reiterated the BJP’s support for the creation of Telangana state. The TDP is vehemently against the creation of Telangana. Besides, the BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan’s signed article appeared in the party’s magazine, BJP Today in which he expressed the party’s regret at not being able to build Ram Temple at Ayodhya. The TDP had given BJP-led NDA issue-based support and it was against the BJP’s Hindutva and it opposed the building of a temple at Ayodhya on the Babri site.

With all these developments, there appear hopes of emergence of a Third Front as an alternative to NDA and UPA given the warming up of relationship between TDP and Left parties. 

In the recent weeks Naidu has been in touch with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Prakash Karat and DMK president M Karunanidhi. Naidu is said to be calculating the emergence of a Third Force in the context of a CPM-Congress disengagement in West Bengal and Kerala.

TDP leaders say that unless CPM ends its support to UPA, a Third Front would not materialise. The TDP is however enthused by the reaction of Jyoti Basu who has invited Naidu for a dialogue in this regard.

The West Bengal leaders of CPM, an ally of the Congress in last year’s elections, are not averse to talking to Naidu if the TDP takes tangible initiative. — 

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