Vijayawada: In Andhra politics, most of the time, power flowed from yatras, organized by leaders of all parties.
In the recent past, YSR (2004), N Chandrababu Naidu (2014) and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy (2019) stormed to power followed by their long-marches across the State.
Yatras, political leaders believe, help revive the party’s image and reinvigorate the sagging morale of the cadre.
Now, the Telugu Desam Party is in total disarray following the unprecedented drubbing in the 2019 general elections. Series of defections by senior leaders, MLAs and MPs, trifurcation of the capital Amaravati, IT raids on party leaders, inquires, negative consequences of change in the power structure at the grass-root level have weakened the organization considerably.
Unless reassured in the face of an aggressive campaign by YSRC government against TDP boss Chandrababu Naidu and son, Lokesh, it will further erode the cadre’s confidence on the ability of the party’s leadership to reconsolidate the organization. To demonstrate that the party is strong enough to bounce back, the only option left for Naidu is the ensuing local bodies election.
To bolster the cadre, Naidu is embarking a bus yatra christened as ‘Praja Chaitanya Yatra’ from Wednesday. The first one in the last nine months, the yatra will commence from Boppudi, a village in Martoor mandal in Prakasam district, and cover the three constituencies.
In a way, this is meant to prepare the cadre for the upcoming panchayat and municipal polls. Before starting off, Naidu will perform puja at Boppudi Anjaneya Swamy temple, which is known to shower blessings on all those who perform puja before embarking on any mission.
Naidu is scheduled to address rallies, public gatherings and meetings of party leaders during the yatra that traverses Parchur, Addanki, and Ongole Assembly constituencies.
“The primary objective of the yatra is to highlight the failures of YSRC government. The nine-month rule is marked by destruction of whatever was planned to take the State, which was in the throes of bifurcation, forward. The party president thinks it is time to share this with people, “said Kalva Srinivasulu, former minister and TDP politburo member.
Talking to Newmeter, Kalva said the all developmental activities had come to a grinding halt. “The Chief Minister is behaving like bull in the china shop. Capital Amaravati is being demolished at a time when the whole world was keenly watching the unique experiment of the capital building. The CM has unleashed a vindictive regime and all officials from the state to the district-level, who took an active part in the development of the state in the past, are being harassed. Lakhs of rations cards are being weeded out. Pension cards are being removed. Our party president will place all these unpleasant developments before the people,” Kalva said.
According to him, Naidu will tour all 13 districts and cover at least 100 constituencies during the bus yatra, which carries a slogan ‘Telugu Prajala Atma Gaurava Yatra’ (Telugu people’s self-respect march). Self-respect was the mantra TDP founder NT Rama Rao (NTR) invoked against Indira Gandhi in 1983. By defeating Indira Congress, NTR stunned the whole world and heralded a new phase of anti-Congress politics in the country.