No grand alliance in Andhra Pradesh, Congress says it will go alone in 2019 polls
Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP had tied up with the Congress in Telangana assembly elections but the alliance did not really work on the ground. The Congress ended up with 19 seats of the 119; TDP with just about 2.Updated: Jan 23, 2019 21:03 IST
The Congress had decided to go it alone in Andhra Pradesh and won’t ally with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and assembly polls.
Oommen Chandy, the Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra, said on Wednesday that the party will contest all the 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats.
Chandy announced the decision after a two-day interaction with former ministers, MLAs, district Congress committee residents and executive committee members of the Pradesh Congress Committee.
The Congress’s decision to fly solo came a day after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday. Naidu had said a decision on alliance with Congress will be taken in line with the sentiments of party cadre from both sides.
Oommen Chandy said the decision to not ally with the Congress was taken by the party high command.
Naidu’s TDP had tied up with the Congress in Telangana assembly elections but the alliance did not really work on the ground. The Congress ended up with 19 seats of the 119; TDP with just about 2.
Telangana Congress leaders have been nudging Rahul Gandhi to break up with Chandrababu Naidu’s party in Telangana and fight the Lok Sabha elections alone, arguing that the marriage just wasn’t working in the country’s newest state.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N Raghuveera Reddy had on January 9 submitted a feedback report to Rahul Gandhi from partymen in charge of constituencies on an alliance with TDP.
The Congress that ruled undivided Andhra Pradesh for two terms in succession from 2004-14 was edged out in the 2014 elections by settling for less than two percent vote share for presiding over state bifurcation. However, it apparently shored up its base following a commitment expressed by Congress chief Rahul on special category state which manifested in a survey conducted by Centre for the Study of Developmental Societies (CSDS) and Lokniti in August, 2018. The study revealed that the vote share of Congress may go up to 12 per cent.
A senior party leader from a south coastal district told Hindustan Times it will spell a disaster for the Congress if it puts up a lone battle. He accused “intra-party coverts” of Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSRCP for the Congress’s decision to contest alone.
E Venkatesh, professor in political science in University of Hyderabad, said the lack of unity between the Congress and the TDP will only benefit the Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress party. “The repetition of Telangana experience in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely. The TRS projected the TDP’s Naidu as alien, playing the ‘Delhi-Amaravati dominance’ dominance card to rouse regional sentiment. This question will not arise in Andhra if Congress and TDP join hands,” he said
First Published: Jan 23, 2019 21:00 IST