Can Pawan Kalyan broker peace between TDP, BJP? Will he budge to less number of seats in alliance?

Pawan Kalyan had met Naidu twice on a single day at the latter’s residence in Amaravathi on February 4 once for three hours in the afternoon

Can Pawan Kalyan broker peace between TDP, BJP? Will he budge to less number of seats in alliance?

AMARAVATHI: Jana Sena Party president and actor Pawan Kalyan, who is hoping to win at least a few seats in the upcoming elections, will be going to Delhi to meet the leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a special emissary on behalf of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu to bring about a rapprochement between the two parties.

Ever since he broke the marriage with the BJP, and stormed out of the National Democratic Alliance ( NDA) all guns blazing in 2018, Chandrababu Naidu began licking his own proverbial wound. What with his devastating performance in the 2019 elections, which the TDP fought alone for the first time in its history, Naidu started showing signs of repentance. As a first step, he obliquely waved a white flag to the BJP by ‘exporting’ his loyalist MPs in Rajya Sabha - Sujana Chowdary, CM Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao, and TG Venkatesh - into the BJP.

Systematically, he began kowtowing to the BJP by issuing mollycoddling statements to appease the otherwise angry BJP leadership.

Pawan Kalyan ready at Naidu’s beck and call

Pawan Kalyan, who has always been ready to do the command job for Naidu, was, however, retained as a partner of the NDA. Meanwhile, he kept on nursing Pawan Kalyan to use his good offices with the BJP at an appropriate time. However, the BJP has been ignoring the Jana Sena, ever since its political foray came a cropper, while letting it be a partner within the NDA .

Also Read: TDP likely to offer 25 Assembly, 3 Lok Sabha seats to Jana Sena; no word on BJP yet

With the BJP, adopting a posture of ‘blowing hot and blowing cold’ with YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the relations between Pawan Kalyan and the BJP ebbed to their nadir.

Consequent upon the arrest of Naidu, the actor exploited the situation to his advantage and made peace with the incarcerated Naidu by announcing a poll pact with the TDP soon after emerging out of a ‘mulaqat’ at the Rajahmundry Central Prison.

The TDP also found it convenient to endorse the same.

The subsequent meetings with greater frequency between Naidu and Pawan Kalyan could create an impression among the people that they were being cordial and going to fight the elections together. Accordingly, the two parties formed a joint coordination committee to work out the modalities to build a common minimum programme – precisely to oust Jagan – and work together.

Pawan Kalyan had met Naidu twice on a single day at the latter’s residence in Amaravathi on February 4 – once for three hours in the afternoon and later for 45 minutes in the night when the actor drove alone without security men accompanying him to meet the TDP supremo.

Truce with the BJP?

The two leaders are said to have discussed the steps to bring about a truce between the BJP and the TDP so that the troika of the three parties could go to polls together. Besides, the two leaders discussed the seat sharing pattern considering the winnability of the candidates constituency by constituency.

According to a vernacular daily that arrogates to itself the position of a “remote director” to the TDP, the two leaders began identifying the constituencies that could be given to the Jana Sena by the TDP, the senior partner in the alliance.

Pawan Kalyan has been under tremendous pressure from Kapu leaders, including the octogenarian Chegondi Hari Rama Jogaiah, not to settle for anything less than 55 Assembly seats and five Lok Sabha seats for the Jana Sena.

However, the newspaper reported in a preemptive manner to keep Pawan Kalyan under check and prevent him from demanding a bigger pie in the cake of seats. The report suggested that Pawan Kalyan had asked for 32 Assembly seats. The two leaders arrived at a consensus with regard to 20 Assembly seats and the TDP was willing to “condescend” to the actor by granting five more seats, while the actor is said to be demanding 27 in all – a bargain from his earlier demand of 32.

Would Jana Sena get 55 or 35 or 30 or 27 or 25 Assembly seats?

However, Pawan Kalyan had boisterously announced earlier that the Jana Sena would demand a number – perhaps 55 – that would not be detrimental to the dignity of his party. If the newspaper’s ‘suggestion’ is to be believed, the number is hovering around 25, at least 30 seats less than what Pawan Kalyan was egged on to ask for. Ditto with Lok Sabha seats too – a climb down from the original five to three or two.

Angered by the TDP’s announcement of two nominees from two seats in the erstwhile East Godavari, the Jana Sena also announced two seats – Rajanagaram and Razole. Pawan Kalyan also made a snide remark that he did not question even the statement of Nara Lokesh on who would be the Chief Minister even before entering into an electoral understanding.

The Jana Sena Party released online posters on the number of seats being sought by the party as part of the seat adjustments and circulated the same in WhatsApp groups.

According to them, the seats being sought by the Jana Sena included: Amalapuram, Razole, Rajanagaram, Pithapuram, Kakinada Rural, Visakha South, Ungutur, Darsi, Anantapur Urban, Rajahmundry Rural, Nellimarla, Tenali, Bhimavaram, Narsapuram, Tadepalligudem, Railway Kodur, Kothapeta, Polavaram, Vijayawada West, Guntur East/West, Yelamanchili, Pendurthi, Gajuwaka, Avanigadda, Bhimili, Pedana, Nidadavole, Tanuku, Eluru, P Gannavaram, Tirupati, Rajampet, Nellore Urban/Rural, Kaikaluru, and Madanapalle.

These account for a total of 35 seats. Now, this is throwing up a different number. It’s not 55, not 30 or 27 or 25.

Meanwhile, the seats agreed upon by Naidu to be left for the Jana Sena included: Rajanagaram, Razole, Kakinada rural, Yelamanchili, Bhimavaram, Narsapuram, Polavaram, Vijayawada West, Tenali and Darsi. These are the 10 seats where there is no controversy between the two parties.

Pawan Kalyan is also insisting that the Jana Sena be given Anakapalle or Tirupati.

Interestingly, the seats being sought by the Jana Sena have strong leadership for the TDP with a large contingent of contenders. For instance, TDP incharge in Nellimarla in Vizianagaram district Bangarraju is angling for the seat, while Lokam Madhavi of the Jana Sena is also vying with him for the same seat. This is making things knotty between the two parties. The two leaders decided – or it is being made out to be so – that they would consider seat by seat to adjudge the fittest candidate factoring in their individual capabilities including winnability and spending capacity.

The TDP wants to adjust the seats for the Jana Sena spread across the State instead of concentrating them in a few districts. As part of this exercise, the TDP wants to reduce the number of seats in East, West Godavari districts, Visakhapatnam and spread them in different districts to the junior partner The TDP wants to give Kakinada Rural to the Jana Sena and contest from Kakinada Urban by fielding its own candidate.

Joint public meeting on February 14

Pawan Kalyan and Naidu would meet on February 8 and also on 10 to decide the way forward on joint campaigns, joint manifesto and conduct the maiden joint public meeting at Palakole in West Godavari district on February 14.

While Naidu wants to mollify his party leaders in individual constituencies where the Jan Sena would contest and work out the vote-transfer to each other between the two parties.

Its reported that Pawan Kalyan had already ascertained the demand of the BJP to accede to the alliance with the TDP and the Jana Sena. The BJP is demanding two Lok Sabha seats and seven Assembly seats as part of the seat sharing, while the TDP is willing to offer one Lok Sabha seat and three Assembly seats.

Though the BJP national leadership is not too keen on a tie-up with the TDP, its local leadership under the aegis of the party’s state unit president Daggubati Purandeshwari, sister-in-law of Naidu, is hankering for a poll truck with the TDP.

Whether the BJP is in a mood to ruffle the feathers of YS Jagan, who has been a trusted associate to it for the last five years, is another important question that needs an answer for the poll truck with the other two parties either for a fusion or a fission.

Can Pawan bring TDP-BJP together?

Against this background, will Pawan Kalyan be able to broker peace between the BJP and the TDP has to be seen, especially in the light of his own equation with the TDP hinging on multiple permutations and combinations regarding the seat sharing.

If the BJP wants to align with Naidu, the latter would have to tailor-make his manifesto and also centrist ideology to suit the right wing politics, making Andhra Pradesh political battleground even more interesting.

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