Hyderabad: The BJP must be gleefully watching the confrontation between the ruling YSR Congress (YSRCP) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which are not ceding ground for the saffron party, despite the personal appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In 2014, the party made some gains in TDP’s company. In 2019, when the party contested on its own banking on Modi’s image, it failed miserably in creating any impact on Andhra voters.
To its discomfiture, a West Bengal-like situation did not arise in AP. In West Bengal, the emergence of Mamata Banerjee led to the disappearance of the Left and paved the way for BJP’s entry.
In Andhra, the phenomenal rise of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy did not decimate Telugu Desam Party like it did the Left in West Bengal. Though N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP suffered a humiliating back in 2019, it remains a major force with a vote share of 40 percent. The revival of TDP cannot be ruled out, given the Chief Minister Jagan’s penchant for dictatorial and vindictive politics, which has become a cause celebre for the cycle party.
Naidu, who has never had an opportunity to lead an agitation against the government, has hit the road for the first time. A political manager par excellence, Naidu has always benefitted from the tide of times. When in opposition, Naidu never led a great agitation to come to power.
Even during the Telangana movement, he could not spearhead a counter-movement. History has always been kind to him and paved a path of roses to power with his managerial and man-management dexterity.
Now, for the first time, the 70-year-old is flexing his muscles. The high-drama YSRCP enacted at Vizag airport two days ago has strengthened his resolve to hit the road.
Naidu’ s proposed interaction with Pendurthi farmers, who lost lands for chief minister’s state-wide land-pooling spree could not be undertaken due to YSRC’s virulent opposition at Vizag.
Naidu has tasted a modicum of success in his endeavor to oppose Jagan’s style of functioning. The shifting of capital is shelved for the time being. While leaving the matter of sensitive ‘Save Amaravati’ to the so-called JAC, Naidu wisely chose Jagan’s controversial land-pooling for ‘Pendalandariki Illu’ and other schemes to embark on ‘Praja Chaitanya’ yatra.
Before the Vizag incident, Naidu toured Anantapur and Prakasam districts where the response from the public was beyond his party’s expectations. This led Naidu to delude that he could hit the road on Jagan’s failures and inspire his party workers, who are in despair with investigations into the alleged corruption of Naidu & Co.
However, the YSRC, which does not want Naidu to conduct his yatra and foment trouble, is bent on stopping him in his tracks. It wants to drag him back into three-capital debate and brand him as Rayalaseema and Uttarandhra ‘drohi’.
YSRC crowds will confront Naidu to create law and order problems so that he could be sent home. The Vizag incident proved this as an effective strategy to contain the Leader of the Opposition.
Senior leader of the ruling party, Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy made it clear that TDP president would face Vizag-like fate across the state if he wants to divert people’s attention from three capitals issue and multiple investigations. So, the state is all set to develop into a political anarchy and the BJP can dream of ‘achche din’ in Andhra Pradesh.
TDP Politburo member Kalva Srinivasulu says YSRCP is scared of Naidu’s campaign against Jagan’s nine-month rule, which, he contends, was a mafia regime.
“Every decision of Jagan has left a trail of destruction. The tremendous response Naidu’s ‘Praja Chaitanya’ yatra generated in Prakasam district is indicative of how soon people have become disillusioned with Jagan. From sand to land, everything is grabbed by his party leaders. YSRCP is worried that Naidu’s yatra would help TDP consolidate its position. So, they are stopping his tours. First, they attacked him in Kuppam and in Vizag, they forced him to cancel his program. But the TDP will intensify the campaign against Jagan’s misrule not only in the state but also in Delhi,” he said.