The BJP and Jana Sena Party leaders announced ironing out of their differences, with the ambition of gaining power in Andhra Pradesh in 2024 polls.
The two parties are fringe players electorally in the state where the YSRCP and the TDP are the principal political forces. However, their small vote share played a crucial contribution role as evident in the last two assembly polls.
BJP and JSP first alliance in 2014, along with TDP resulted in Chandrababu Naidu becoming the chief minister. Their separation by 2019 helped Jaganmohan Reddy triumph with 151 seats in a 175 membered assembly.
Now, the JSP with one MLA and BJP with none say they would strengthen their alliance, expand their voter base and offer an alternative to the TDP and YSRCP for the people of the state.
On Thursday, after a three-hour-long meeting of both party leaders in Vijayawada, Pawan Kalyan, the JSP supremo said, “From local polls to general elections, we will walk along the BJP.”
Though the BJP was earlier keen on JSP’s merger with it, deliberations were focussed on strengthening the co-operation. “Kalyan was not open to merger,” a senior BJP leader told DH.
Kalyan who was critical of the BJP leadership and went with the Left and BSP in last year assembly elections played down this past. “I was only asking for clarity from the BJP (on the special status issue). The TDP government should not have accepted the financial package in lieu of the status. The YSRCP with 22 MPs should be questioned about it now,” the superstar turned politician said.
In 2016, Kalyan had compared the financial package announced by the Narendra Modi government to two stale laddus.
The immediate issue the JSP-BJP would rally together is against the Reddy government’s proposed shifting of the capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam. State BJP chief Kanna Lakshmi Narayana and Kalyan said that they are ready to fight Reddy’s decision legally and publicly.
Kalyan, who thanked PM Narendra Modi and HM Amit Shah for the alliance, came out in support of the controversial CAA. “If an international cricket player is subjected to discrimination we can expect how normal minorities-Hindus would be treated (in Pakistan). The act is not to snatch away anyone’s rights here; it is only to shelter persecuted minorities like Hindus from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Unlike Pakistan, India has become a strong nation because it respects all religions.”