Comprehensive was the BJP's victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections that it may not need coalition partners in 2019. With 282 seats in Parliament, the party enjoys a majority by itself. But no one can deny the fact that partners are essential in states with strong regional parties and charismatic local leaders.
Naidu is unhappy that the Centre has yet to pay heed to repeated requests for special state status to be granted to Andhra Pradesh. "We are seeking support from all parties," says TDP leader in the Rajya Sabha Y.S. Chaudhary, "because no party is untouchable in politics."
The implication is clear, the TDP expects the alliance with the BJP to result in support from the Centre for the party's concerns.
There are more literal family issues, too, with the antipathy between Naidu and his sister-in-law, BJP leader Daggubati Purandeswari, who has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to complain about Naidu's decision to induct defectors from rivals YSR Congress into the Andhra cabinet.
The TDP has 16 Lok Sabha seats and has been a long-time partner in the NDA. Still, it hasn't been reluctant to defy the prevailing party line. In the Rajya Sabha, the TDP sided with the Opposition on the government's triple talaq bill, a move BJP strategists believe to be motivated by domestic political considerations rather than disgruntlement with the alliance.
Angered by the criticism from BJP legislators in Andhra Pradesh, the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has warned it might follow the Shiv Sena's example and leave the National Democratic Alliance before next year's general election.
Somu Veerraju, a prominent local BJP leader, says that a "coalition government does not mean that the BJP cannot in the future form a government on its own. We are strengthening the organisation from the booth level up." If that sounds like griping, so do comments from TDP parliamentarians such as J.C. Diwakar Reddy, who asserts that because, "the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha, it is not paying attention to Andhra Pradesh.
Had there been no majority, it might have understood the importance of alliance partners".
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu told reporters that while he would be circumspect in view of his party's ongoing loyalties, if the BJP "does not want an alliance, we will say namaskaram and chart our own course".
Is this evidence of hairline cracks in the NDA, an opportunity for the Congress in Andhra to revive its lost pride?!