Tirupati, May 29: Having a Lok Sabha presence now from two states, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is planning to contest elections from a few other states too to be able to get tiol party status by the year 2019. “The idea that TDP should struggle to achieve tiol status figured in the discussions, but no decision has been taken,” Jayadev Galla, TDP leader who represents Guntur constituency in the Lok Sabha, told IANS on Saturday here during the party’s ‘Mahadu’ (annual convention). He said the party already has Lok Sabha members from Andhra Pradesh and Telanga and is required to represent at least one more state in the lower house of parliament in order to be eligible for the tiol status.
The candidates for expanding the party’s base are Kartaka, Tamil du and Odisha which have substantial presence of Telugu speaking people, Galla said. “Now we will be open to exploring how we should go about it. No fil decision has been taken either to contest in one state or the other,” he said. The issue of the TDP making its presence felt in other states and achieving tiol status figured prominently in the second day’s deliberations at the Mahadu here on Saturday. The party currently has 16 Lok Sabha members: 15 from Andhra Pradesh and one — Ch. Malla Reddy representing Malkajgiri — from Telanga. During the deliberations, senior party leader and union Civil Aviation Minister P. Ashok Gajapati Raju recalled the “tough days” of regiol parties at the tiol level and how the TDP was able to secure the opposition party status in the Lok Sabha in 1984. “I still remember the days when our leader and TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao raised the importance of Centre-state relations and later brought in the constitution of Sarkaria Commission. The recommendations of the commission still remain an important feature of India’s federal structure,” he said. Party leader Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy said there was a special place for the TDP in the tiol politics ever since NTR, as Rama Rao was popularly known, took the initiative to form the tiol Front. TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu idu recalled the politics of 1984 in the Lok Sabha when Bharatiya Jata Party’s strength was just two and the TDP was the major opposition party. “TDP has experienced all kinds of experiments at the tiol level. My father-in-law and founder of TDP, N.T. Rama Rao, joined hands with all kinds of political forces to fight a mighty Congress,” said idu. “He created tiol Front. This ended with V.P. Singh becoming prime minister. Then we worked for United Front and we had two prime ministers (H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral),” he said. idu said he supported the Vajpayee government (1999-2004) and floated in 2008 United tiol Progressive Alliance (UNPA) with the Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav and others. “This third front UNPA did not do well and I am back in BJP-led NDA now. Our MPs are ministers in the Centre and BJP leaders are ministers in my government,” he noted. (IANS)