Saturday, July 20, 2024

‘Situation in AP right now is worse than Emergency’, say Naidu, Pawan Kalyan

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Jana Sena chief K Pawan Kalyan called on Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday, giving clear indications that the two parties were moving closer to a re-alliance to bring in “accountable governance” in Andhra Pradesh by ridding the state of the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy regime.

Both leaders, however, maintained that “saving democracy in AP” was their main objective and the issue of a possible alliance (between TDP and Jana Sena) could come up later.

“Situation in AP right now is worse than Emergency. We will work with all (opposition) forces to save democracy in AP. We will take the issue to the Centre’s notice as it has every right to intervene in such situations,” the two leaders told reporters at the end of their two-hour-long meeting.

They discussed a “broad range of issues”, including the controversial GO No.1, cutting down of social security pension beneficiaries, non-payment of remunerative price to paddy farmers, stifling of opposition, etc., the leaders said.

Replying to a specific question on possible alliance between Jana Sena and his party, the TDP supremo remarked that the issue could be discussed when “democracy is functioning normally”.

“There will be many combinations. In the past, we had alliance with (erstwhile) Telangana Rashtra Samiti in 2009. There could be differences (later). But alliances could be discussed only when democracy and the political parties are allowed to function normally,” the former chief minister noted.

Kalyan said they “discussed in detail” what needed to be done for the future of the state. Bringing in accountable governance with responsibility was their prime task, he added.

Kalyan said he would take up the issue with his ally BJP as well.

The Jana Sena chief vowed to ensure the opposition vote in AP does not get split in the 2024 elections, implying a political realignment, to defeat Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.

With both leaders camping in Hyderabad for the weekend, Kalyan drove to Naidu’s Jubilee Hills residence for the meeting, the first formal interaction between the two after several years.

The Jana Sena is currently in alliance with the BJP in the state while the TDP was once the lead partner of the tripartite combination.

Since 2018, the TDP has been sailing alone, having snapped ties with the other two.

The BJP is apparently disinclined to realign with the TDP even as the Jana Sena is moving closer to the former ruling party.

In this backdrop, the meeting between Naidu and Kalyan assumed significance.

In October last year, the TDP president met Kalyan in Vijayawada to extend solidarity after the state government blocked the latter’s programmes in Visakhapatnam.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy regime brought out a new GO on January 2 prohibiting rallies and meetings on roads across the state, ostensibly targeting the opposition parties and Naidu himself became the first target of the restrictions during his visit to Kuppam from January 4-6.

The two leaders were said to have discussed the fallout of the GO, particularly at a time when Kalyan was planning to undertake a statewide tour in a custom-designed campaign vehicle ‘Vaarahi’ and Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh scheduled a 400-day foot march from January 27.

The Jana Sena has already announced that it would challenge the controversial GO in High Court while the TDP is expected to follow suit.

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