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TDP cadre for parting ways with BJP

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, MAY 27. The soul-searching exercise undertaken by the Telugu Desam over the electoral debacle led to calls from the party functionaries for snapping ties with the BJP, revamping the organisation and the need to distance the `coterie' from the leader, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The TDP's mini-Mahanadu began here on Thursday at NTR Bhavan with the party introspecting over the causes for its defeat. As many as 31 candidates, who contested the recent Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, spoke at the day-long session and identified several factors for the severe drubbing which include the successive drought for three years, anti-incumbency, going in for early elections, widespread resentment among farmers and employees, free power offer by the Congress, delay in selecting candidates and `internal sabotage' by partymen.

One of the leaders was reported to have said that members of `coterie' which was close to Mr. Naidu had misled him and wanted them to be distanced in the interest of the party. Some of the leaders reportedly pointed out that the minorities had moved away from the TDP due to its alliance with the BJP and this had cost the party dearly in the elections. They wanted parting of the ways with the BJP.

The leaders also were believed to have accused some of the former Ministers of trying to defeat other functionaries in their respective districts after having failed in their attempts to ensure that tickets were denied to them. One of them was stated to have demanded action against those who `backstabbed' the party.

The lack of accessibility of Mr. Naidu to the party cadre was also cited to have caused problems. The functionaries were reported to have pointed out that he had spent more time with officials and devoted less time for interacting with partymen.

Later briefing reporters, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, C.Ramachandraiah and R. Prakash Reddy, said that major factors cited by leaders were `delayed elections', drought, agricultural problems, the disproportionate propaganda with regard to the irregularities in Food-for-work programme, the alienation of some sections after the aftermath of the Godhra incident, Congress party's alliances, it's offer of free power and waiver of dues, apprehensions among employees that TDP, if returned to power, would reduce the retirement age to 53 years and privatise state-owned bodies like Singareni Collieries and APSRTC.

Asked about distancing the `coterie' suggestion, they said that some had stated that there was a gap in the interaction between the leader and important functionaries. They said the party would analyse various suggestions received in the `internal exercise'.

Earlier, responding to the suggestions of the leaders, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu was reported have said that party would soon be re-organised in a comprehensive manner.

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