Opposition alliance in Andhra Pradesh sorts out differences


Hyderabad : The four-party opposition grand alliance in Andhra Pradesh has finally resolved differences over seat sharing and vowed to work together to defeat the ruling Congress party in the Lok Sabha elections.

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For the first time in more than a month, leaders of Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) Tuesday came together and addressed a joint press conference.

The differences among the four parties over seat sharing had raised doubts whether the alliance would fight the next month’s elections unitedly. The filing of nominations Monday by TDP leaders in some constituencies allotted to TRS and the objections raised by CPI-M over number of seats given to it had put the alliance in jeopardy.

TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, CPI state secretary K. Narayana and CPI-M secretary B. Raghavulu met at Naidu’s residence to iron out their differences.

They claimed that they had resolved all the problems and would now focus only on campaigning with the sole aim to defeat the Congress party. They decided to hold at least three massive joint public meetings during the campaign period.

“We have overcome all the problems. We will now focus only on the campaign,” said Naidu.

The alliance leaders had to meet twice before they could demonstrate their unity. The first meeting was held in the morning but the CPI-M leader refused to turn up as he was unhappy over Naidu’s statement to the media that the left party has agreed for 14 assembly seats.

The Marxist leader made it clear that they had sought 20 seats and would not agree to anything less than 18. The TDP chief had to contact the central leadership of the CPI-M to convince Raghavulu to come for talks.

Naidu later agreed to leave two more seats for CPI-M. As per the seat sharing agreement, TDP will now contest 29 Lok Sabha and 219 assembly seats. It has left nine Lok Sabha and 45 assembly seats for TRS, two Lok Sabha and 16 assembly seats for CPI-M and two Lok Sabha and 14 assembly seats for CPI.

The simultaneous elections to the 294-member assembly and 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state are scheduled to be held next month in two phases – April 16 and April 23.

Naidu asked TDP leaders and rebels to withdraw their nominations from all those constituencies allotted to allies. The TRS chief also made a similar appeal. They admitted that the seat sharing had resulted in resentment among ticket aspirants but urged them to make the sacrifice in the larger interest of their respective parties.

The last day for withdrawal of nominations for 22 Lok Sabha and 154 assembly seats is April 2.