Political observers feel that before the 2019 elections roll in, there will be two blocs in Andhra: a BJP-led NDA alliance with Jagan, and a Congress-led UPA alliance with Naidu.

With allies turning rivals is Chandrababu ready to fight three battles before 2019Facebook/Telugu Desam Party
news Politics Tuesday, June 05, 2018 - 16:31

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had a long drawn out break-up with BJP a few months back. The “will he, won’t he” was thick in the air, as the feeling in his home state was that Andhra got a raw deal from the Centre in the Budget. The denial of a Special Category Status was souring things further, but finally Chandrababu Naidu decided to call it quits and left the NDA lock, stock and barrel. And once he did, he did not hold back on his criticism of the BJP and the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Recently, he asserted, “In 2019 BJP won't come to power. Regional parties will rise. When people give power to a party but it does not deliver; people lose faith. That's what happening with NDA.”

But while the TDP chief is outwardly confident, political analysts and critics say that 2019 is not going to be easy for him.

On the one hand, after the TDP pulled out of the NDA, the BJP has become a very vocal rival in the state. Public slugfests and accusations have become routine between the two former allies, and TDP’s attack is led by Chandrababu Naidu himself, lashing out at the Prime Minister for “cheating the people of Andhra Pradesh.”

BJP is not the only ally TDP has broken up with though. In 2014, there was another person in the mix – Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan. The actor-turned-politician had supported the Naidu-Modi combine in 2014, but since then, he has come into his own and has been claiming that he will go solo in 2019. In fact, he has withdrawn support to the TDP alleging misgovernance and corruption.

And if losing two allies was not enough, Chandrababu Naidu has an already-rival who seems to be growing bolder and stronger. YSRCP’s Jagan Mohan Reddy lost the last elections in the state after a tough battle, and this time around, he has started the ground work already. Jagan is on a statewide ‘Praja Sankalpa Yatra’ – a total distance of 3000 km – to unseat Naidu in 2019.

Fighting three political battles, the TDP has been organising massive public gatherings under the ‘Dharma Porata Deeksha’ banner. And in front of the media, they’re putting up a confident front.

Gorantla Buchaiah Chowdary, a senior TDP functionary and an MLA says, “We have credibility among the people. The public knows that the YSRCP has a secret alliance with the BJP.”

Referring to the YSRCP MPs’ resignation over Special Category Status that was not accepted by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, he asks, “How come their resignations were not accepted, while those of Karnataka MPs were?”

“People of Andhra Pradesh know that BJP has cheated the state. BJP and Jana Sena weren’t really big forces – we have won in local body polls without their support and we will win in future as well,” the TDP leader says.

But political observers say that 2019 is not going to be that easy for TDP.

“It is too early to come to a conclusion,” says senior political commentator K Nageshwar, “however losing two major partners is certainly a disadvantage for the TDP.”

Nageshwar observes that one way Chandrababu Naidu may use this to his advantage, and portray BJP as a party that has denied the state what it deserves, in order to overcome anti-incumbency.

Other observers who are keenly watching the early rush to campaign for 2019 feel that it will be an election of massive coalitions in the state.

AM Khan Yazdani, a senior journalist and activist, says, “There are indications that Jagan and BJP will form an alliance. Even Pawan Kalyan may join this alliance later on.”

In the melee, Yazdani says Chandrababu Naidu may end up going back to his old friends, the CPI and CPI (M), thereby paving a path to join a Congress-led coalition.

“By the time the elections come around, the parties are going to be in two camps; one, a BJP-led NDA, and the other, a Congress-led UPA. The former will have Jagan and Pawan, and the latter will have Naidu, and CPI-CPI (M), along with the SP and the BSP,” he says.

Either way, observers say, it’s going to be a tough battle for Chandrababu Naidu to retain the Chief Minister’s chair.

 

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