Yunus Y. Lasania
Hyderabad: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is most likely going to rekindle its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is likely to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the coming days.
Senior TDP leaders from Andhra Pradesh (AP) said that a formal announcement will be made after the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation ends, and once political activities resume post the pandemic.
“Over the last few months, especially since the lockdown began in March, our leader Chandrababu Naidu has been supportive of the Centre and has only been censuring YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) President (and AP chief minister) Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy. Our party spokespersons have also been asked not to criticize the Centre, even though state-level BJP leaders are still attacking our party,” a senior leader from TDP, who did not want to be quoted, said.
He pointed out that Naidu, earlier during the lockdown, had even participated in the “clapping” (claps to thank doctors and healthcare staff who are dealing with the pandemic) activity that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked the nation to undertake. “This will happen eventually, as we get closer and closer to the 2024 general and state elections. Right now, politics is only confined to social media, as it is impossible to go out in public,” the TDP leader added.
If and when the TDP goes back to the NDA fold, the political situation will return to what it was during the 2014 general and state polls in AP, given that the BJP and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party (JSP) are in an alliance. The TDP and BJP were formal allies in the 2014 elections, while Pawan Kalyan had supported the parties but did not contest the elections.
However, the TDP split from the NDA before the 2019 general (and state elections in AP) over the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh. The demand had become a heated issue, which even current AP Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy had taken up as his main agenda then. The Centre had categorically stated earlier that AP cannot be given special status and that it would get a ‘special package’ instead, which eventually led to a fall out between the TDP and BJP.
Hence, in the 2019 general and state elections, the TDP, YSRCP, BJP, JSP and Congress contested the elections separately, which resulted in the YSRCP’s stunning victory. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party had won 151 out of 175 assembly seats, and 22 out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. The TDP managed to win just 23 assembly seats and three parliamentary seats, while the JSP won from just one assembly constituency.
The TDP leader quoted above also said that there is no hurry to announce the decision. “We have to see what will be the position of the YSRCP as well politically. Right now, Jagan is trying to decentralize the capital between Amaravati, Vishakhapatnam and Kurnool. This has also given Naidu a new lease of life, politically speaking. The matter of the alliance with BJP will happen when the time is right,” he stated.
The writer is a Hyderabad-based journalist, who has previously worked for The New Indian Express, The Hindu and Mint.