This is the question that has been dominating political discourse in Andhra Pradesh right now.

How common enemy TDP could be bringing the BJP and YSRCP together ahead of polls
news Controversy Saturday, June 16, 2018 - 13:41

Did BJP senior leader Ram Madhav hold a secret meeting with YSR Congress MLA Buggana Rajendranath Reddy at his residence in Delhi? If so, what could be its ‘hidden’ agenda? These are the two questions that have been dominating political discourse in Andhra Pradesh right now.

Although the debate over YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s perceived ‘special love’ for Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not strange, his party MLA, Bugganna Rajendranath Reddy, was reportedly caught on camera in Delhi recently while in the company of his BJP counterpart Akula Satyanarayana.

This supplied ammunition to the ruling TDP which was quick to establish an “unholy” alliance between the BJP and the YSRC to defame its government in the state.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu alleged that it is a clear case suggesting a conspiracy hatched at Ram Madhav’s residence in collaboration with the YSRCP. Sensing the increasing groundswell against the NDA government over truncated promises in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh, a shrewd Naidu obviously spared no effort to turn the tide in his favour.

YSR Congress turns tables

By attaching pro-Narendra Modi labels to the Leader of Opposition, Naidu is trying hard to establish that YSRCP is no longer able to protect the interests of the state by aligning with a party that failed to deliver on bifurcation-related promises.

However, Rajendranath dismissed the allegations and turned the tables on the TDP instead.

Speaking to TNM, he shot back, “The Chief Minister has no moral right to talk of YSRCP’s relations with the BJP when he gave key official positions to two leaders with BJP background. Sapna Mungantiwar, wife of Sudhir Mungatiwar, Finance Minister in the BJP government in Maharastra, was nominated to the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam’s Trust Board; Parakala Prabhakar, whose wife Nirmala Sitaraman holds defence portfolio in the NDA government, continues to be media advisor to the AP government even after the ruling TDP parted ways with BJP.”

Rajendranath cited these two appointments to pick holes in the TDP’s claims vis-a-vis YSRCP relations with the BJP.  

Naidu as a common enemy

As if strengthening the allegations of the TDP, YSR Congress MP Vijayasayi Reddy the other day sent out a clear message, saying his party is not averse to aligning with anyone who is opposing Naidu.

Those Vijayasayi Reddy is intending to sail with understandably include the BJP and Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan. He even went the extra mile by personally meeting a rebel Dalit TDP leader Motkupalli Narasimhulu from Telangana. Narasimhulu, belonging to Madiga sub-caste, reportedly accepted YSRCP’s proposal for a roadshow involving himself in Andhra Pradesh.

Therefore, the YSRCP is getting ready to shoot its gun from Narasimhulu’s shoulders. Narasimhulu is expected to depict Naidu as a leader with no credibility with a focus on the abortive categorisation of scheduled castes. The Telangana TDP unit expelled the Dalit leader from his primary membership for his personal attack on the party chief.

Power battles

After all, Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy are engaged in pitched battles for political space in their home state.

Since the bifurcated state is home to bipolar politics, the BJP has no stakes whatsoever if it fights the election by keeping out either of the regional parties. The TDP is at its best to play up the regional sentiment and garner votes in 2019 by hitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi hard and exposing his alleged betrayal.

But Jagan is heavily banking on an anti-incumbency vote, exposing the failures of the TDP government. The YSRCP chief also perceptibly chose to be soft on BJP without targeting the NDA government over special category status issue. His unsolicited support for the BJP candidate in the Presidential election, his silence over note ban, GST, hike in fuel prices and cow vigilantism are seen as tell-tale signs of his tacit-understanding with the BJP.

However, the YSR Congress is not ready for any pre-poll alliance with BJP, fearing anti-Modi sentiment over special category status and the other undelivered promises of the NDA government.

Noticeably, Jagan has little or no role in the process of non-BJP formations that found a platform in Karnataka after the Assembly elections.

Win-win situation             

What’s the benefit Jagan intends to derive from his friendly overtures with Prime Minister Narendra Modi? He seems exhausted in criminal cases related to possession of wealth illegally and he might be seemingly craving for a breather.

Jagan apparently hopes Narendra Modi may stage a comeback in 2019 general elections. In a quid pro quo gesture, Jagan Reddy, who was haunted by the stigma as a tainted leader has gained new-found legitimacy after his 45-minute long meeting with the Prime Minister which made way for his party’s support for the BJP candidate in the Presidential elections.

BJP seems intent to ride on the back of Jagan’s party after the elections, eying its Lok Sabha seats. Besides, the BJP is also eager to take revenge against Naidu who upset its apple-cart during the Karnataka elections by depicting the NDA in bad light in the eyes of Telugu voters.

It’s the common enemy that the BJP and YSR Congress love to see in Naidu which seems to be bringing them together. The pull factor could be assessed from the anti-Naidu single-point agenda pronounced by Vijayasai Reddy.



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