Why is the Telugu Desam Party not contesting the election today? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Why is the Telugu Desam Party not contesting the election today?

Nov 30, 2023 08:00 AM IST

For the first time since 1985, the party is not contesting the state elections in Telangana. Its ally, Jana Sena Party is contesting in alliance with the BJP

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will not contest the assembly elections in Telangana scheduled for November 30. This is the first time the party will not contest an assembly election in the state (it was earlier part of Andhra Pradesh) since at least 1985, the first time it contested an election in (what is now) the Telangana region officially. While its ally in Andhra Pradesh – the Jana Sena Party – is contesting the election, it is doing so in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Why has the TDP given up on contesting Telangana? Here are three charts that can answer this question.

Why has the TDP given up on contesting Telangana? (AFP) PREMIUM
Why has the TDP given up on contesting Telangana? (AFP)

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will not contest the assembly elections in Telangana scheduled for November 30. This is the first time the party will not contest an assembly election in the state (it was earlier part of Andhra Pradesh) since at least 1985, the first time it contested an election in (what is now) the Telangana region officially. While its ally in Andhra Pradesh – the Jana Sena Party – is contesting the election, it is doing so in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Why has the TDP given up on contesting Telangana? Here are three charts that can answer this question.

TDP’s withdrawal is not a sudden decision

The party has been gradually withdrawing from Telangana starting in 2009. This can be seen from the number of seats that the party has contested historically in the Telangana region when it was part of Andhra Pradesh. This shows that while the TDP has always contested a smaller share of the total seats in the Telangana region than in the region that is present-day Andhra Pradesh, the gap became significantly bigger in 2009. This is when the TDP formed an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS, which is now Bharat Rashtra Samiti or BRS) and left parties. As expected, TDP had to share a large share of Telangana region seats with the TRS in 2009. This is because TRS was formed by former TDP member K Chandrasekhar Rao in 2001 when he walked out of his then party on the issue of a separate Telangana.

Clearly, TDP appears to have conceded that it would not win in the Telangana region even in 2009. This continued in 2014 when the TDP formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and left it a large share of seats in Telangana. To be sure, in both 2009 and 2014, the TDP still contested more seats than its allies. However, in 2018, it had almost given up on the contest, as it contested just 11% of ACs in Telangana. Therefore, it is not surprising that the number has gone down to nil in this election.

Chart 1:

Why did TDP almost withdraw from the contest in 2018?

The 2018 election was clearly another big shift. What explains it? The short answer is that its performance was the worst ever in the 2014 election. While not winning seats and losing an election is routine for political parties in India, the TDP also appears to have lost all support it had in the Telangana region before the separation from Andhra Pradesh. This can be seen in its vote share in the seats it contested. This contested vote share should not decrease much if a party decides to contest a smaller share of seats on offer. This is because it is expected that a party has chosen to contest a particular set of ACs where it considers itself strong. However, TDP’s contested vote share in the Telangana region decreased by 15 percentage points between 2009 and 2014 to just 24%. It had never won less than 38% vote share in the ACs it contested in the Telangana region before 2014.

Chart 2

May have to do with Naidu’s arrest

The final reason for the TDP withdrawing from the Telangana election may be the arrest of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu in corruption cases in September, just months ahead of the election in Telangana. This is also the reason suggested by the party for not contesting the Telangana election. As HT reported at the time, the party is also facing an existential crisis in Andhra Pradesh. While its vote share in the 2019 state election in Andhra Pradesh was in line with its historical performance in the state, its seat share decreased to an all-time low.

Chart 3

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

Get Current Updates on India News, PM Narendra Modi Live Updates along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    author-default-90x90

    Abhishek Jha is a data journalist. He analyses public data for finding news, with a focus on the environment, Indian politics and economy, and Covid-19.

SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, March 04, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On