Barely a few hours after Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu said at a rally that his party would fight alone in Seema-Andhra, the TDP has gone into damage control mode and says the statement was misinterpreted.
The TDP leaders, while clarifying Naidu's statement, said he only meant that if the Bharatiya Janata Party puts up weak candidates he would fight the battle alone.
However, the BJP says that they will hold another round of talks and see to it that the alliance is through. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedekar confirmed this by saying they would iron out the differences.
Endorsing reports that there was a "strain" in the alliance with BJP in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu earlier in the day publicly expressed displeasure over the selection of candidates by the saffron party for the May 7 elections.
He, however, did not say whether the alliance would continue or break.
"We have aligned with the BJP to see that Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister and rid the country of the corrupt and inept Congress rule. The alliance was also in the interests of our state. But somehow the BJP has fielded very weak candidates in some places which will only benefit the rival parties," Chandrababu lamented, addressing a public meeting at Parvathipuram in Vizianagaram district this evening.
He said corrupt forces like the YSR Congress should not be allowed to take advantage of the situation.
Chandrababu, however, did not talk further on the alliance. But leaders of the two parties were hopeful that there would be no threat to the alliance "at that stage" as the misgivings would be sorted out.
BJP AP unit president Kambhampati Haribabu told reporters in Visakhapatnam, where he is the Lok Sabha candidate, that some "small misgivings" were common between political parties.
The TDP has allotted 15 Assembly and five Lok Sabha seats to the BJP in Andhra Pradesh as part of the alliance but the national party itself reduced one seat each and announced its candidates.
The TDP leadership at the local level sent an alarm over the BJP's choice of candidates in particular assembly segments saying the nominees were "too weak".
The TDP is said to be unhappy over the BJP's choice of candidates in constituencies like Ichchapuram, Rajahmundry (Urban), Kaikaluru and Guntakal that were allotted to the latter as part of the alliance.
In a teleconference with his party leaders late last night, Chandrababu was said to have remarked that the candidates being fielded by the BJP for assembly were not even capable of getting elected as ward members (in local bodies).
"How will they win the assembly seats? It will only be detrimental to our alliance," Chandrababu reportedly remarked.
One of the reasons for the discord between the two parties is said to be the BJP's choice for Narsapur Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP fielded Gokaraju Ganga Raju for the seat, denying ticket to another industrialist K Raghurama Krishnam Raju who joined the party recently from the YSRC.
The TDP wanted Krishnam Raju as the alliance candidate as part of a political game plan to corner not only the YSRC but also Congress MP K V P Ramachandra Rao, a close relative of Raju.
Krishnam Raju filed four sets of nominations today, two each as TDP and BJP candidate, after talking to Chandrababu Naidu this morning. His wife Rama Devi also filed nominations as TDP and BJP candidate.
Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu, son of former Union Minister K Yerran Naidu, who is the TDP candidate from Srikakulam Lok Sabha constituency, told Chandrababu that the BJP's nominee for Ichchapuram Assembly seat V Balakrishna stood no chance of winning.
"We are unnecessarily forgoing an Assembly seat which will have an impact on the parliamentary seat as well," Rammohan reportedly lamented.
Similar is the case in Rajahmundry (Urban), where the TDP denied ticket to its senior leader Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary to accommodate the BJP.
BJP's candidate A Satyanarayana, according to TDP leaders, is considered to be very weak.
"We will be giving the seat to the rivals (read YSR Congress) on a platter," Gorantla, TDP's Rajahmundry Lok Sabha candidate M Murali Mohan reportedly told Chandrababu.
Interestingly, Gorantla today filed his nomination from Rajahmundry (Urban) as the TDP candidate, a move that is seen as a pressure tactic to force the BJP to change its candidate.
In Kaikaluru, sitting TDP MLA Jayamangala Venkata Ramana was made to "sacrifice" his seat in favour of BJP.
But the TDP cadre is said to be unhappy over the selection of K Srinivasa Rao by the BJP.
In Guntakal, there is trouble within the BJP as well over the nomination of Venkatramaiah as the candidate.
BJP cadre called Venkatramaiah an "outsider" who did not even have membership of the party.
They termed the decision to field him a "conspiracy" to scuttle the TDP-BJP alliance and tacitly help the YSRC.
With inputs from PTI