Close on the heels of a humiliating drubbing in the Hyderabad local body polls, the Telugu Desam Party chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu suffered another jolt when a city MLA joined the ruling TRS on Tuesday.
KP Vivekanand Goud is the seventh TDP MLA from Telangana to join the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, in last one and half year.
The GHMC defeat and the slipping away of yet another MLA point to Naidu’s paled influence in Telangana and especially in Hyderabad which was synonymous with his name at one time.
Regardless of Naidu’s claims of turning the city into an IT hub and a clean and green city during his nine-year tenure as united-Andhra Pradesh CM and appeals for votes in Hyderabad civic polls, the TDP is washed away -- most surprisingly -- in even its bastions with large number of Seemandhra settlers. The party managed to win only one division in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation which it once ruled.
Despite the bifurcation, the TDP – seen as an Andhra party – had performed very well in Hyderabad region in 2014 elections. 10 of its 15 MLAs elected in Telangana are from Hyderabad and the surrounding suburbs.
The reason then for this phenomenal shift in the party fortunes now, analysts and party men say is Naidu himself.
Even as the MLAs and other leaders were deserting him, Naidu kept away from Hyderabad for the last six months, camping in AP’s ad hoc capital Vijayawada, busy with Amaravati capital project and other state programmes. Leaving Telangana affairs to his son Nara Lokesh and others, TDP insiders say, Naidu has created a leadership vacuum.
“The effect of Naidu’s absence is being felt in Telangana TDP,” Goud also said on Tuesday.
While Naidu government could run the state from Hyderabad -- the common capital -- till 2024, the Andhra Pradesh CM had also ordered his government to function from Vijayawada from mid 2016.
With GHMC polls now showing that Seemandhra people favoured K Chandrasekhar Rao, the locally available Telangana CM rather than Naidu, some more TDP MLAs from the city are said to be in talks with TRS to jump ship.
The already defected TDP MLAs who hitherto feared Seemandhra voter wrath for going to re-polls, are now favouring elections after the GHMC results. Their resignations, along with that of Congress, YSRCP MLAs who joined the TRS are pending with the Telangana assembly speaker, who could take a call on the matter soon.
(Views expressed are personal)