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`TDP-NDA ties will continue'

By Neena Vyas

HYDERABAD, JAN. 11. Confident of converting a double anti-incumbency factor in Andhra Pradesh — his own 10 years' rule and the six years of the National Democratic Alliance Government — into a ``pro-incumbency'' wave, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, made it clear that at the moment it was a ``no'' from him to any third front and a ``yes'' for continuing with the existing outside support for a possible next NDA Government.

Mr. Naidu ruled out any major role for himself at the Centre, saying he would like to focus his attention on developing Andhra Pradesh. He also indicated that his party would stay with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the NDA. But, he was in touch with the Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav — a votary of the third front — he admitted. He did not want to entertain any questions on the numbers of seats he was willing to give to the BJP. That would come later.

Addressing reporters at a breakfast meeting here today, Mr. Naidu said he was in favour of continuing the ``status quo'' in its relationship with the NDA in the event of the ruling coalition at the Centre once again coming into power. However, later, talking informally, he added the caveat: ``I cannot say what will happen six months afterwards.''

Mr. Naidu said that for the last eight years he has been emphasising that ``good governance is good politics and development should be the only slogan.''

He came down heavily on the Congress, his main rival in the State, saying that they had made impossible promises of free power and raised other populist slogans. The ``foreign origin'' of the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, was also an issue, he said.

``In 1996 the Telugu Desam Party had passed a resolution. Our forefathers fought for freedom and made countless sacrifices. Now, would it be wise to have a person of foreign origin to lead India?'' Mr. Naidu asked. He added that only those ``born in India'' should be allowed to occupy the two or three of the highest constitutional posts.

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