Two TDP leaders join Jana Sena to contest Andhra Assembly polls

With Avanigadda and Palakonda seats being allotted to JSP under the seat-sharing agreement with TDP and BJP, local TDP cadres have reportedly been demanding that leaders of their choice be fielded.
Former Andhra Pradesh Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad with Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan
Former Andhra Pradesh Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad with Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan
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In an interesting development, two leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh joined its ally Jana Sena Party (JSP) to contest the next month’s Assembly polls. Former Andhra Pradesh minister and former Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad joined JSP in the presence of party leader and actor Pawan Kalyan at Pithapuram in Kakinada district on Monday, April 1, along with another TDP leader Nimmaka Jayakrishna. Pawan Kalyan is likely to field Buddha Prasad from Avanigadda and Jayakrishna from Palakonda.

Both the leaders quit TDP with the nod of party president Chandrababu Naidu to join JSP and contest the May 13 elections as candidates of the TDP-JSP-BJP alliance.

Buddha Prasad, who was elected from Avanigadda in 1999 and 2004, served as a minister in the YS Rajasekhara Reddy cabinet in combined Andhra Pradesh. He also served as the chairman of the AP Official Language Commission. He quit the Congress in protest against the bifurcation of the state in 2014 and joined the TDP.

After his election from Avanigadda for a third term in 2014, he was elected Deputy Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. In 2019, he lost the election to YSRCP’s S Ramesh Babu. As Avanigadda was one of the seats allotted to JSP under the seat-sharing agreement, local TDP leaders have been demanding that Buddha Prasad be fielded.

A similar demand was made by TDP leaders for fielding Nimmaka Jayakrishna in Palakonda constituency. He had lost to YSRCP’s Viswasarayi Kalavathi in 2014 and 2019 in Palakonda. He is now likely to contest as Jana Sena candidate. A formal announcement of candidates for Avanigadda and Palakonda Assembly seats is likely to be made soon.

The JSP has already announced candidates for 19 out of 21 Assembly seats it is contesting in alliance with the TDP and BJP. Pawan Kalyan, who is contesting for Assembly from Pithapuram, has also announced candidates for both Kakinada and Machilipatnam Lok Sabha seats.

Simultaneous elections to the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats are scheduled on May 13. Under the seat-sharing agreement among NDA partners, TDP is contesting 144 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP is fielding candidates in 10 Assembly and six Lok Sabha constituencies.

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