After the debacle, the Telugu Desam Party supremo Chandrababu Naidu spent most of the time with family and now, with the spurt of political activities and changing equations in Andhra Pradesh, he re-enteted into active politics. And this time, people’s expectations are bit high in AP as the ruling YSRCP’s welfare schemes and support to common man. This is a real challenge to TDP, just coming out from oblivion.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is at a critical juncture ahead of the birth centenary celebrations of its founder and former chief minister of combined Andhra Pradesh, NT Rama Rao, as well as the big test of ‘2024’ that would determine the very future of the nearly four-decade-old party.
In the backdrop of its humiliating defeat three years ago, after having ruled the residuary state of AP for the first five years since its formation, TDP president Chandrababu Naidu no longer has the early mover advantage. Given his experience of having ruled the state for almost two terms previously, in the minds of people he was the right person to rule the state formed with a deficit of Rs. 16,000 crore, following bifurcation of the undivided state of AP.
In contrast, the president of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) YS Jaganmohan Reddy was then almost novice in politics, lacking experience of ruling. Still, after becoming the ruler, Chandrababu Naidu spent time with his hurriedly drawn policies and plans on various issues, including finalising designs for the construction of capital city of Amaravati for the state of residuary AP. Despite having all plus points, he managed to get people’s mandate by the difference of just one per cent of excess votes polled by TDP. Initially Chandrababu thought that his experience was essential to bail out the state of AP from all its problems.
The issue of Amaravati became crucial for both YSRCP and TDP. Had Chandrababu completed at least half of the construction of the new capital Amaravati, it would have obviated the need for a reversal of the decision taken by the successive government headed by YSRCP. Chandrababu spent 75% of his time finalising designs and graphics required for building of the capital city Amaravati. Consequently, a significant portion of the work could not be completed by the end of Naidu’s tenure.
He thought that building Amaravati could be his trump card for retaining power in the 2019 elections. His poll campaign was designed in line with his thoughts on Amaravati. According to that strategy, TDP cadre simply requested the electorate to give one more opportunity to Naidu to enable him to complete his unfulfilled programme of building Amaravati and that too “for your beloved children”. People instead voted for YSRCP, decimating TDP to mere opposition party with just 23 out of 175 seats.
Now TDP is preparing to celebrate the birth centenary of its founder NT Rama Rao during this week at the venue of the party’s annual meet Mahanadu. Mahanadu may show the way forward for the TDP, which is bracing to move forward ‘come what may’!
Naidu has announced that his party is ready for ‘sacrifices’ on a large scale if the situation warrants. The word ‘sacrifices’ perhaps indicates seat sharing with other like-minded parties, particularly Jana Sena Party (JSP) headed by film star Pawan Kalyan.
The JSP president Pawan announced on its formation day rally that he will not allow anti-YSRC government’s votes to get divided at any cost.
This created ripples in political circles of AP. Pawan’s words have become an inspiration for opposition parties that are working against the government. This perhaps prompted the TDP supremo to broadly indicate his line of thinking on a possible alliance with Pawan’s JSP. He exhorted his possible future political ally that the ongoing discussion among cadres of both the parties should not be like ‘one side love story’.
Since the completion of local bodies’ polls across the state, which was swept by the ruling party, TDP had been in a pessimistic mood over elections. Pawan’s words changed the situation. Both parties seem to be inclined for an alliance. The modalities may be discussed in the days to come. TDP is currently looking like a warrior without sword.The past provides solace sometimes. After two consecutive defeats at the hands of TDP in the elections of 1983 & 1985, the Congress was in distress for some period.
But incidents such as Dalits’ killings at Karamchedu and Neerukoda had created anti- TDP mood among the electorate. This reflected in the local bodies’ elections held in 1987 in which the Congress achieved impressive results. A very big incident took place in 1988: Congress MLA Vangaveeti Mohanaranga Rao (Vijayawada -East) was brutally killed in Vijayawada. Large-scale violence ensued and this paved the way for the Congress to come to power. Now TDP may repeat the same, if it wants too. Dalits are subject to harassment on various occasions. Being the principal opposition, TDP must be able to use this factor and expose the state government’s lethargic attitude in dealing with the situation.
At the Mahanadu, Naidu would be compelled to promote himself as future leader of the party. What about succession plans? If Naidu does not succeed in projecting his son as his successor, he has to agree for giving due importance to his alliance partner(s) in the days to come. What else does ‘sacrifices’ mean in this context? It may be too early to discuss power sharing, instead of just seat sharing; yet, it seems inevitable for both the parties to be prepared for any eventuality.
TDP had been shining for four decades on the political platform of undivided AP. Today it is feeling suffocated due to desertions since the last General Election. Naidu’s flip-flops on crucial issues such as AP’s bifurcation without taking a firm stand, abrupt shifting of the administration from the joint capital Hyderabad to Vijayawada only to save himself from ‘cash for vote’ case resulted in TDP’s bad shape.
Only a meaningful perspective with a proper vision for the near future will take TDP further, for which a new idealogy is needed. Will Mahanadu look at this aspect and take the right decisions to give voters some clarity? #KhabarLive #hydnews