CPI not to contest AP by-polls

Hyderabad: The Communist Party of India (CPI) has announced it would not contest ensuing by-elections to seven Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh even as it asserted its friendly ties with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will continue. CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan made these announcements after a meeting with TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu at the latter`s residence here tonight.

Bardhan`s assertions came in the backdrop of CPM`s decision to contest from two seats (Station Ghanpur and Kovur) in the by-elections slated for March 18 and indications that it had almost severed its relationship with TDP, the main Opposition party in the Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh.

In fact, CPI state leadership has taken exception to the "unilateral decision" of its Left partner to jump into the by-poll fray even as the TDP leadership said it would take up the issue with CPM. Bardhan landed here and drove to Naidu`s residence and discussed the latest political developments. He will leave for Karimnagar to take part in the CPI`s state-level four-day conference beginning tomorrow.

The by-election issue figured prominently in their discussion, TDP sources said. Emerging out of the meeting, Bardhan announced his party would stay out of the contest and support TDP. "Our friendly ties (with TDP) will continue. We will jointly fight on people`s issues." The CPI chief expressed his party`s opposition to the National Counter Terrorism Centre, saying it was against the federal spirit enshrined in the Constitution.

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