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BJP saves Desam alliance

Hyderabad, April 18: The BJP and the Telugu Desam Party today saved their alliance in Seemandhra after Chandrababu Naidu unilaterally declared a break-up yesterday.

After 10 hours of negotiations last night and this morning, the BJP gave Naidu a face-saver by yielding one Assembly constituency in exchange for two legislative council seats after the elections. The Desam had sought five Assembly seats.

The BJP is now left with 13 Assembly and four parliamentary seats in Seemandhra, which has 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats and votes on May 7.

Sources said that among Naidu’s many grouses was his sense of being slighted by the ally. He had apparently complained to the BJP that while senior leaders like Rajnath Singh had travelled to Chennai to clinch the Tamil Nadu alliance, he had had to deal with juniors like Prakash Javadekar and Y.S. Chowdhary.

“Why should Naidu be so sour? He has been talking to Narendra Modi directly,” a BJP negotiator told reporters, dismissing the Desam chief’s gripe.

Yesterday, Naidu had called the tie-up off accusing the BJP of fielding weak candidates at the Sangh’s behest. Sources, however, said the main reason was Naidu’s fear that the BJP would field his estranged sister-in-law, former Congress Union minister D. Purandeswari, from the prime Visakhapatnam seat.

The BJP has denied Visakhapatnam to Purandeswari and offered to change three Assembly candidates.