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Telangana polls: BJP, Jana Sena to hold seat-sharing talks

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jana Sena Party (JSP) are set to hold seat-sharing talks for next month’s assembly elections in Telangana. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy and JSP leader and actor Pawan Kalyan to work together for Telangana polls.

Kishan Reddy and Pawan Kalyan met Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday evening. During the 40-minute long meeting, they discussed the possibility of the electoral alliance for the November 30 election to the 119-member Telangana Assembly. Shah is reported to have asked them to reach an agreement over seat sharing by Friday when he visits Hyderabad. Both the leaders agreed to hold talks within their parties and come out with concrete proposals.

JSP, a constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has already stated that it wants to contest 32 seats in Telangana, mostly in undivided Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar, Khammam, Medak and Nalgonda districts.

Also Read: BJP-Jana Sena alliance looks unlikely in Telangana

Kishan Reddy along with party MP K. Laxman had called on Pawan Kalyan in Hyderabad on October 18 requesting him to campaign for the party candidates. The JSP leader, however, informed them that his party plans to contest at least 30 seats. Pawan Kalyan told them that he would hold talks with the BJP’s central leaders.

On October 22, the BJP announced its first list of candidates for 52 constituencies including some segments that JSP is keen to contest. It remains to be seen how the two parties will address this issue.

Sources in BJP said the party will have an alliance with only JSP and not with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana.

Pawan Kalyan has announced an alliance with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh for next year’s elections, though BJP has still not responded to his request for a grand alliance among the three parties to take on the ruling YSR Congress.

During the meeting with Kishan Reddy and Laxman, Pawan Kalyan told them that he is under pressure from JSP cadres in Telangana to contest the elections this time.

He recalled that in 2014, he had campaigned for TDP and BJP candidates in Andhra Pradesh and at the request of BJP leadership, did not contest the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections in 2021.

The actor-politician conveyed to the BJP leaders that if this time JSP does not contest at least 30 seats in Telangana, this would affect the morale of the party.

Many of the constituencies where JSP wants to field candidates are in urban areas, especially in and around Hyderabad. The party hopes to bank on Pawan Kalyan’s fan following and the voters hailing from Andhra Pradesh.

On October 2, the JSP released a list of 32 assembly seats saying it is ready to contest these seats to “realize the goal” of the Telangana movement. They include Kukatpally, Uppal, LB Nagar, Malkajgiri, Serilingampally, Medchal, Patancheru, Qutubullapur, and Sanathnagar constituencies in and around Hyderabad. The list also includes constituencies in undivided Khammam district. All these constituencies have a considerable number of voters of Andhra origin.

Pawan Kalyan, who also comes from Andhra Pradesh, has a huge fan following among youngsters. The party also hopes to secure the support of ‘settlers’, as people from Andhra Pradesh are called.

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