Hyderabad, May 14: His public support on the Third Front notwithstanding, Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has reportedly made up his mind to side with the old ally, the National Democratic Alliance.
According to NTR Bhavan sources, Chandrababu Naidu has used the Telangana Rashtra Samithi to test the political waters before deciding to take the plunge. The TRS, a key ally of the Telugu Desam this general election, has already declared its support to the BJP-led NDA at the Centre. This sudden move, by TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao even before the results are out, is seen as a political ploy by the TD leadership to seek public reaction.
Chandrababu Naidu's dream of Third Front received a setback with the Left sending feelers that it may support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. Given the political equations in the State, the TD leader will not support the UPA and with the Third Front not sure of taking a concrete shape, he has no option but to side with the NDA, if he has to stay in the reckoning.
The TD supremo has always been known for his shrewd political moves at the eleventh hour. This time too, TD sources said, Chandrababu Naidu would take everyone by surprise by supporting the NDA. The TD leader is awaiting the results. He is likely to support the NDA whether he wins the Assembly elections or fails to get sufficient number of seats to claim power in the State. In case he gets enough seats in the State Assembly to form the government, he may enter into a political bargain with the NDA to prevent the Congress-led UPA from coming to power at the Centre. If he fails to get the majority in the State, he will side with the NDA "out of political compulsions" so that he does not remain isolated.
Chandrababu Naidu however, announced on Thursday that a meeting of Third Front parties had been convened in New Delhi on May 18, two days after the poll results to discuss the political situation and take steps for formation of a Third Front government at the Centre. Naidu, who is in touch with Third Front leaders, told party leaders that, he had invited AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal also for the meeting in New Delhi.
Though Naidu made it a point at every review meeting that a non-Congress and non-BJP Third Front government would be formed at the Centre, party leaders said Naidu may choose his option after the poll results and the number of seats won by allies. If the magic number is missed and Left decides to support Congress, he would have no option but to join NDA.
Says K Ramamohan Rao, senior TD leader: "Our party president is making all efforts to form a Third Front. Third Front will form the Government."
"A hung assembly may prove detrimental for Naidu, who might have to depend on TRS and Praja Rajyam. Naidu's silence on TRS indicates the secret machinations behind the latter's support to the NDA," a senior Telugu Desam leader said.
TD politburo member K Yerran Naidu summed up Chandrababu Naidu's mind when he said "the Telugu Desam will keep its option open on new alliances. Our intentions are common. We are against Congress".
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