Once again, old allies Jana Sena and BJP have come together and announced an alliance on Thursday seeking to emerge as the “third alternative” in Andhra Pradesh.
The reunion of the two parties comes after a separation of three years due to what they termed “communication gap,” may alter the political scenario in the state, where the local body elections are round the corner.
Sudhish Rambhotla, BJP spokesperson said, “We expect that this alliance will do well in the future. Jana Sena has some vote share and so does BJP and that is why this alliance has come into existence. This is going to be a formal alliance and this coalition government will be projected as an alternative government for the existing political party. We (Jana Sena and BJP) are ready for the future elections.”
This political realignment has raised a point of an interesting discussion in political and media circles. Jana Sena Chief Pawan Kalyan and state BJP president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana announced the alliance at a press conference after a four hour meeting of leaders of two parties in Vijaywada on Thursday. A coordination committee would soon be formed with leaders of the two parties to carry forward their agenda.
The point of discussion is whether this new alliance would make any difference to the existing political parties in the state or bring about a larger change in the political equations in the state.
More than seven and a half months ago, the YSR Congress (YSRC) party led by chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power with a massive mandate reducing the Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu to an insignificant position with just 23 MLAs and three MPs among these 23 MLAs, two of them have already directly or indirectly switched over to the YSRC and at least two to three MLAs are likely to follow the suit.
Among the other opposition parties, the BJP and Jana Sena were completely decimated in the elections and the Congress has lost its presence in the state with a vote share less than the votes polled under NOTA.
While the BJP had drawn a blank, Jana Sena had won just one MLA seat though it got nearly 7 per cent votes but even that MLA is all set to defect to the YSRC.
There are three communities that matters in Andhra politics Kapa, Kammu and Reddy. Chandrababu Naidu is Kamma, Pawan Kalyan belongs to the Kammu community while Jagan Reddy is from the Reddy community. The Kapus are a deciding factor. This means that whomsoever they support, they win the election in Andhra Pradesh. BJP wanted to have strong hold in Andhra politics. Hence they were in alliance with TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu. Since TDP and BJP parted ways, the option remains in Jan Sena. Both the parties together can change some equations as Pawan Kalyan has the Kammu vote bank and BJP too has its loyal vote share.
After a gap of nearly seven months, the political activity has picked up again and the opposition parties badly mutilated in the last elections are now planning to regain their strength through political realignment.
The TDP, which had fought with the support of the BJP in 2014, tried to send friendly signals to the BJP, the saffron party has shut the doors on it.
Having no other option, Naidu has now joined hands with the Communist parties to fight to retain the capital city at Amaravati.
On the other hand, Pawan Kalyan who opposed the BJP in the elections and indirectly maintained friendly equations with the TDP has changed his track and is now aligning with the BJP.
This would mean that there is going to be a triangular fight in the next elections unless there are further changes in the political equations.
While it will be a virtual lone fight for the TDP (the Communists have relevance in electoral politics), the BJP-Jana Sena combination is expected to gain some strength because of the charisma of Pawan and cadre base of the BJP.
However, the combination will split the anti-establishment vote in a big way and it will ruin whatever little chances the TDP has to bounce back.
“Ultimately, it will be advantageous to the YSR Congress party, unless there is a radical shift in the YSRC vote bank to the TDP,” an analyst said.