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AP: Towering demands from allies chokes TDP

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
February 20, 2009 22:20 IST
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Seat-sharing has become the biggest challenge before the four-party Grand Alliance led by the Telugu Desam party.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu is under tremendous pressure from his partners' demand for a larger number of Lok Sabha and assembly seats.

According to the informed sources in the TDP, Naidu was so worried over the tall demands of the state leaders of the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, that he has taken the issue to the central leadership of both the parties.

Sources said that the issue of seat sharing figured in the talks when Naidu met CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI general secretary A B Bardhan separately during his current visit to the national capital.

"It has been the time-tested strategy of Naidu to talk to the central leadership of an alliance partner. That is what he did with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004", the party leader recalled.

Already worried with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi over its demand for 50 assembly and 10 Lok Sabha seats, Naidu is also under tremendous pressure from the two Left parties.

Informed sources said that the CPI wants six Lok Sabha and 45 assembly seats and the  CPI-M is demanding 6 Lok Sabha and 53 Parliamentary seats.

If Naidu agrees to all these demands, he will be left with only 146 of the 294 assembly seats and 20 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. As all the seats demanded by the TRS are in the Telangana and since the CPI and CPIM also have their stronghold in this region, the TDP will be left with a few seats in Telengana if he meets all the demands.

TDP sources ruled out the possibility of accepting the demand of any party in toto. "It will be a difficult challenge but Naidu will be firm about the limit to which he can go to adjust with the partners", the sources said.

According to figures doing rounds in the political circles in Hyderabad, the TDP will leave about 40 to 45 assembly seats and nine seats to the TRS, two Lok Sabha seats each for the CPI and CPIM and 30 Assembly seats to both the left parties.

But the Left parties are willing to come down only by half, i.e  to three Lok Sabha seats and 35 assembly seats each.

Another worry for Naidu is that even after the seat adjustments, the two Left parties will be locked in friendly fight in 10 to 12 assembly constituencies damaging the prospect of the Grand Alliance. Then all the parties are also likely to face the threat from the rebel candidates. As of now, the ruling Congress is gleefully watching the moves and counter moves.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad