Hyderabad: Thousands of people from the city woke up to read a shocking political development on Thursday: the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), led by former Andhra Pradesh (AP) chief minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, is being merged with the Bharatiya Janata Party (notwithstanding the fact that both parties were former allies). Many eventually realised that it was an April Fool’s day prank, but it has caused a lot of heartburn within the TDP.
The April Fool’s Day article was splashed in local daily Deccan Chronicle’s front page on Thursday, with the last few lines of the report quoting a ‘political analyst’ saying “Readers must carefully look at today’s date. They would realise the right conclusion to come to is April Fool’s Day.” However, TDP leaders and workers have not taken the joke too kindly, with social media handles of TDP supporters posting that the newspaper was being purchased by Times of India (TOI), its archrival in Hyderabad.
In the April Fool’s DC article, the newspaper stated that TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu undertook the step as the party “lost its verve and there is little hope of reinvigorating the party within the next three years…”. It also added that a “heart-broken Naidu” reached out to the BJP’s top brass, after realising that the TDP could not beat the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in AP.
This is however not the first time that Deccan Chronicle has done this. Earlier in 2019, the Hyderabad-headquartered newspaper also pranked senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and state finance minister T. Harish Rao by saying that he was going to join the BJP. Rao too did not take to it too kindly and issued a strong statement against the story.
Sriram Karri, the resident editor Deccan Chronicle, also posted the story on his Twitter timeline:
Senior TDP leaders however have not looked at this too kindly, as the prank article has apparently led to scores of people actually believing that the Naidu-led party is merging with the BJP. “Sriram Karri is a known baiter of the TDP. The newspaper was also burned in some places, and our activists are also trolling DC as well. You don’t have to praise us, but this is hitting below the belt,” a miffed TDP leader from AP told Siasat.com.
The TDP leader, who did not want to be quoted, added that many local Youtubers from AP spread this news after the newspaper hit the stands on Thursday. Deccan Chronicle, which was a thriving newspaper company in Hyderabad, has now fallen onto hard times, as the daily has been dealing with a financial crisis.
Former employees, who did not want to be quoted, said that the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in the newspaper being in dire straits, as the management, which had already delayed salaries, had brought in a salary cut, making things worse.