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Out of NDA, Naidu’s TDP may wage a lone battle in 2019

The TDP has never fought the elections on its own since it was founded by the late movie star-turned-politician NT Rama Rao in 1982.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:41 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telugu Desam Party,TDP,TDP quits NDA
The TDP will face a tough contest from the YSR Congress Party.(HT File Photo)

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Friday over the Centre’s denial of so-called special category status to Andhra Pradesh, faces the prospect of fighting a lone battle in the 2019 general and state polls after being left with no ally in the southern state.

The TDP, which came to power in Andhra Pradesh in 2014 after the state was carved up to create Telangana, will face a tough contest from the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. In 2014 YSRC lost the assembly election by a slender margin of 2% of votes to the TDP-BJP combine.

Reddy has launched an all-out attack against and Andhra chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on his marathon padayatra (road journey) across Andhra as he seeks to give the TDP , now without the BJP’s support, a run for its money in the 2019 elections.

In 2014, Naidu benefitted from the support extended to the TDP-BJP combine by the fledgling Jana Sena Party launched by popular Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan. The support of Jana Sena helped the TDP-BJP combine gain a large chunk of votes of the Kapu community to which Pawan Kalyan belongs.

On Thursday, Pawan Kalyan dropped his hitherto friendly attitude towards Naidu, whom he described as a failed politician. “He converted the state into a breeding ground for corruption for his party leaders. The TDP leaders are not sparing any natural resource to loot,” the actor-turned-politician said. Naidu has hinted that Kalyan is acting at the behest of some senior BJP leaders in Delhi.

In 2014, the Congress was routed in the state for the role it played in the division of the state. The Left parties are struggling to establish an identity in the state.

“As such, there are no parties with which the TDP can forge an alliance in 2019 elections. So, it has no option but to test its fortunes on its own,” said senior journalist-turned-legislator Syed Amin-ul-Hasan Jafri.

Interestingly, the TDP has never fought the elections on its own since it was founded by the late movie star-turned-politician N T Rama Rao in 1982. In the first assembly elections it faced in 1983, the TDP partnered with Sanjay Vichar Manch, a party launched by Maneka Gandhi and named after her late husband Sanjay Gandhi.

In the 1985 and 1989 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, NTR had an electoral understanding with Left parties as well as the BJP. In the 1994 assembly elections, he allied with the Left. This alliance with the Left continued even after Naidu took over the reins of the TDP in 1995. But after the 1998 polls, Naidu shifted loyalties to the BJP .

In the 2009 polls, the TDP joined forces with the Left and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, but could not succeed in unseating the Congress. Again in 2014, the TDP came back to the BJP fold.

Now, the TDP finds itself alone.

“We don’t need anybody’s support as we are confident of our strength,” Naidu said in a teleconference with TDP politburo members, alleging there is a secret understanding between the BJP, YSRC and Jana Sena, .

Naidu plans to tap local sentiment against the NDA government’s denial of special category status to Andhra Pradesh, to win public support.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 23:41 IST