The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP raps Lyngdoh on Andhra elections

Hyderabad, Nov. 16: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu today termed chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh’s reaction on early polls in Andhra Pradesh “hasty and unnecessary”.

Speaking at a party programme on the outskirts of the city, the BJP leader said the state government was justified in seeking polls as early as February because it did not forebode well in a democracy to have a caretaker government for long.

Chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu recommended dissolution of the Assembly on Friday and sought early elections. But Lyngdoh said in Delhi that evening they could only be held in March or later.

The chief election commissioner, Naidu said, had made the remark in haste and without properly studying the issue. The commission is “duty-bound to conduct the polls in Andhra Pradesh as early as possible”, he said today. Three months is enough time to wrap up formalities like revision of electoral rolls, training of polling staff and arrangement of security forces to ensure peaceful campaigning and polling, the BJP president said.

Naidu endorsed the decision of Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party to seek a fresh mandate on the twin planks of containing extremism and providing a stable political leadership for the state’s economic development. Naidu said the BJP would continue its electoral alliance with the Desam to ensure its victory and expose the “designs of the Congress”. “The BJP favours an integrated Andhra Pradesh and is not demanding a separate Telengana right now,” Naidu said, in a departure from the party’s earlier stand.

A communal flare-up in the city on Friday and the alleged involvement of BJP leader B. Bal Reddy tarnished the party’s image and the frequent pro-Telengana chants among the BJP cadre has added to its woes.

A separate Telengana was an important part of the Kakinada declaration of the party before the 1999 elections.

But the Desam’s criticisms and stern police action in containing the tension in the old city in the Ramazan month has apparently polarised the BJP cadre against the ruling party. The state BJP wants at least 75 seats for its candidates in the coming polls. The party was allotted 35 in 1999 and won 12 seats, including two in Hyderabad.

In 1999, the alliance with the BJP gave the Desam a 7 per cent spurt in the votes it secured. The alliance had also helped the BJP win seven Parliament seats.

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