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A Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh said on Sunday that the tie-up in Telangana has brightened the chances of an alliance between the two parties in the other Telugu-speaking state as well.

The alliance between the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana could be a prelude to the two parties joining hands in Andhra Pradesh, according to two party functionaries familiar with the developments.

A Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh said on Sunday that the tie-up in Telangana has brightened the chances of an alliance between the two parties in the other Telugu-speaking state as well. “The only way to oust the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the national level is if all the like-minded secular parties unite against the communal forces,” said the leader on the condition of anonymity.

Wary of having any truck with the YSR Congress Party, the Congress on its own is not in a position to form the government in Andhra Pradesh where the hold of the grand old party has weakened significantly after the bifurcation of the state in 2014.

The assessment within the Congress, another senior functionary said, is that the YSR Congress Party chief, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, might go with the BJP and there is also no chance of any reconciliation between the TDP and former ally BJP.

Jana Sena Party founder Pawan Kalyan is also an important player in the state’s politics, and has dismissed talk of being a part of any grouping. In this scenario, the two functionaries said the Congress feels that an alliance with the TDP could be a formidable one for both the assembly and the Lok Sabha elections.

Officially, the Congress has maintained that it will go it alone and not have any tie-up with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh.

Both Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh, Oommen Chandy, and state chief, N Raghuveera Reddy, have ruled out an alliance with any political party, although with a caveat that the final decision rests with the high command.

For its part, the state Congress has kept up its attack on both the TDP and the BJP over the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s failure to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh as per the commitments under the AP Reorganisation Act of 2014.

But a series of recent moves by both the TDP and the Congress has triggered speculation of the two coming together for the first time in Andhra.

It started in March with the decision of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to quit the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.This was followed by the Congress extending support to the TDP’s no-confidence notion against the government in the Lok Sabha. The TDP reciprocated the gesture by backing the Congress candidate in the elections to the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s post.

The TDP also supported the Congress’s nationwide shutdown call against rising fuel prices on September 10.

Political experts argue that an alliance with the TDP will be a “win-win situation” for the Congress, especially after its complete decimation in the 2014 assembly and Lok Sabha elections. It failed to open its account in the state assembly as well as the Lok Sabha.

“The Congress has nothing to lose and rather stands to gain if it strikes a seat-sharing deal with the TDP. In 2014, the Congress was buried in Andhra Pradesh due to bifurcation and hasn’t recovered yet. Much depends on how many seats the TDP allocates to the Congress,” said Hyderabad-based political analyst, C Narasimha Rao.

TDP leaders have maintained silence on the issue, insisting that a final call on the alliance in Andhra Pradesh will be taken by Naidu.

Now, all eyes are on Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s day-long visit to Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, and whether the steps up the attack on Naidu or makes overtures to the TDP.

Apart from addressing a public meeting and interacting with students at Kurnool, Gandhi will unveil a statue of late Damodara Sanjivayya, the first Dalit to be a chief minister of any state in the country. The Congress chief will also pay tributes at the memorial of former chief minister Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy.

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