TDP damage control: Plays Telangana card
With four out of five exit polls giving the Congress-TRS alliance an edge over the BJP-TDP alliance in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP is trying its best to contain possible damage in the remaining areas - 21 Parliament and 147 Assembly seats - that go to the polls on April 26.
TDP leaders and cadres have now started playing on the latent fears of the people of coastal Andhra and are holding forth on the so-called 'dangers' of bifurcating the state to create a separate Telangana.
"The granary (coastal Andhra) will become desert," "you will be ruined," and "settlers will be evicted from Telangana" are just some of the sinister scenarios TDP activists are painting to kindle suspicion about the Congress-TRS combine.
TDP activists are also telling the people of coastal Andhra that the Congress-TRS combine would stop water from Nagarjunasagar and other dams which are located in Telangana if it is voted to power.
This, the TDP says, will kill the prosperous coastal region, known for its agriculture, pisciculture and poultry industry.
The Congress has retaliated to this and has called the new TDP pitch a deceitful ploy to win votes. "We have told our workers to propagate that there were Congress governments in the state in the past too and they never discriminated against coastal Andhra in terms of water. Besides, the TDP government has mismanaged water resources so badly in nine years that disaster is looming in the horizon," the Congress said.
The TDP has also launched a propaganda blitz. About a dozen TDP campaign jingles are being telecast at frequent intervals in all satellite channels since Wednesday night. The purpose, ostensibly, is to have "maximum brand recall."
However, cable operators say that fatigue has already set in. "People switch off their sets as soon as advertisements come in. So the costly TV campaign may become counter-productive," Suresh, a local cable operator pointed out. Sources also say that the TDP has pumped in more money into certain areas to boost leaders and cadres who have been demoralised after the exit poll results.
Meanwhile, a popular TV channel has started showing the cartoon of a man in a yellow shirt (the TDP colour) falling off a bicycle (the TDP election symbol), indicating impending defeat for the TDP. Interestingly, sometimes, this caricature follows a TDP campaign advertisement showing a yellow-shirted Naidu cycling to a bright sunrise.