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KCR-Naidu talks: TDP to reverse Telangana stand
Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
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July 07, 2008 08:40 IST

In a dramatic political development with far reaching implications two bitter opponents have talked for the first time in about nine years. Indicating the possibility of a sea change in the political landscape of Andhra Pradesh with the Telugu Desam Party reversing its stand on the issue of Telangana state, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu [Images] spoke with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhara Rao over the phone late on Sunday night and discussed the unfolding political situation and possibility of the two parties joining hands in the next elections.

Naidu, whose 150-day-long Mee Kosam Yatra entered the West Godavari district on Sunday night spoke to Rao for 15 minutes, well informed and reliable sources in the TDP said.

Since Chandrasekhara Rao left the TDP in 2001 and launched the movement for Telangana and formed his own political party, it was first time that the two leaders spoke directly.

The contact assumes significance in the backdrop of both the leaders facing serious challenges to their political survival. While TDP is witnessing an exodus of leaders to the camp of popular film star Chiranjeevi [Images] and Naidu's grip on the party seems to be slackening, Chandrasekhara Rao is facing a serious threat from the yet to be launched party of T Devender Goud.

According to the sources, the two leaders discussed several issues including the impact of Devender Goud and Chiranjeevi launching their respective parties.

It is learnt that KCR urged Naidu to decide his party's stand on Telangana issue to pave the way for the two parties to work together ahead of next year's elections. Naidu on his part told KCR that the extended executive meeting of the TDP in Khammam on July 13 will have a threadbare discussion involving the leaders from all the regions.

"The party may pass a resolution declaring its support for separate Telangana state opening the way for understanding with the TRS. It will pave the way for negotiations to share the 119 assembly seats in Telangana region," a senior party leader said.

Any such change in the policy will mark a major break from the past for Naidu and his party. Naidu has been a strong votary of an integrated Andhra Pradesh saying a smaller state will not be good for the development and progress of the state. But the recent political developments have forced his hand.

After former MP Bhuma Nagi Reddy and his wife former MLA Shohba Nagi Reddy quit the TDP to join Chiru camp, another former minister Khaleel Basha from Kadapa has followed suit. TDP member of Rajya Sabha C Ramachandraiah is also planning a similar move on the ground that the backward classes were not getting justice in the TDP. M Pedda Rathaiah, strongman in Guntur, is also contemplating a similar move.

Naidu, concerned over a large number of senior leaders making a beeline to the exit door and looking towards Chiranjeevi, is thinking in terms of containing the damage specially in Telangana. He was also determined to check the political plans of Goud who quit the TDP last month and is now planning to launch the 'Praja Telangana party'.

E Dayakar Rao, TDP member of Parliament and a close confidante of Naidu, has already gone on record saying an understanding with the TRS was imminent. He also forecast that both the parties together will win more than 100 assembly seats in Telangana region altering the political situation drastically.

Devender Goud, on the other hand, is hoping to join hands with Chiranjeevi if his proposed political party takes a pro Telangana stand.

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