The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya and Sangma blip on BJP radar

Jan. 18: The BJP today left “everything open” on the possibility of an alliance with Jayalalithaa and drew restive Nationalist Congress Party leader P.A. Sangma for preliminary talks.

However, the BJP ruled out alliances with Mulayam Singh Yadav or Mayavati.

Asked about the possibility of an alliance between his party and the ADMK, BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Bangalore that there had been no discussion so far on the issue. “I am neither proposing nor opposing (the alliance).”

He said the BJP would firm up alliances once the notification for the polls is issued. “Till such time, everything is open,” he added.

However, both Naidu and general secretary Pramod Mahajan made it clear that there was no possibility of an alliance with the Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party.

“I do not see any possibility of the BJP and the SP coming together. We will contest on our own in Uttar Pradesh,” Naidu said, leaving open the option of a post-poll understanding.

Naidu later shared a platform with Samajwadi leader Amar Singh in Hyderabad where the Telugu translation of poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s autobiography was released on his first death anniversary. Mulayam Singh had yesterday called on the Prime Minister and the deputy Prime Minister in Delhi.

Today, it was the turn of Sangma to meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Sangma, who is cut up with his party leader Sharad Pawar’s efforts to forge an alliance with the Congress, discussed the possibilities of a tie-up between the Northeast People’s Forum and the BJP.

After a 30-minute meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, Sangma told reporters that he discussed with Vajpayee electoral adjustments between the forum and the BJP in case they decided to go together.

Denying reports that he was quitting the NCP, Sangma, who heads the 17-party forum of which the NCP is a part, said the group’s leaders would meet tomorrow to take a final decision on a tie-up with the BJP.

“Pawar has his own compulsions in Maharashtra and I fully appreciate that. Similarly, I have my own in the Northeast and he should appreciate that,” Sangma said.

In Tamil Nadu, water will decide whether Jayalalithaa will take another plunge into an alliance with the BJP.

After the third successive drought in the Cauvery delta areas, Chennai is now going through the worst-ever water shortage in recent memory. Jayalalithaa has said Chennai “is confronted by a major calamity of a severe nature”.

“We have completely suspended piped water supply which is unknown and unprecedented in the history of Chennai city,” Jayalalithaa said in a letter to the Prime Minister, requesting the Centre to immediately sanction Rs 700 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund to tackle the situation.

A positive response from the Centre with a largesse to tackle the water crisis will be a crucial factor that would weigh with Jayalalithaa when she makes up her mind on an alliance with the BJP.

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