Presidential election: In Andhra, not just NDA ally, but also opposition wooing the BJP

Political opportunism or bipartisanship? Presidential polls bring rivals TDP, YSRCP together.
Presidential election: In Andhra, not just NDA ally, but also opposition wooing the BJP
Presidential election: In Andhra, not just NDA ally, but also opposition wooing the BJP
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The politics over supporting the NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind appears to have exposed the YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh, as it cosies up to the BJP.

Shortly after Kovind was named the NDA’s Presidential candidate on Monday, YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy extended his support via social media, calling the former Bihar Governor a “fine statesman”. In fact, Jagan had promised Prime Minister Narendra Modi the support of his 10 MPs and 66 MLAs back in May.

And while the ruling Telugu Desam Party has in the past accused Jagan of cosying up to PM Modi and the BJP leadership in order to go slow on the corruption cases against him, the party has, on this occasion, welcomed its arch-rival’s move.  

TDP MLA Gali Muddu Krishnama Naidu said " Yes, they might have found the decision fair. The Presidential Election is about electing non-party personality.” He also added, “You cannot deny their support when they are willing to give it voluntarily, which isn’t a wrong step. This decision has to be taken irrespective of parties. We are strongly supporting Ramnathji's candidature, our leader has already left to Delhi to attend the nomination programme."

Being an NDA ally, the TDP was the first off the block to announce support to Kovind’s candidature. This despite issues cropping up between the Centre and the TDP over not granting special status to the state. At the TDP’s annual conclave recently, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu even went so far as to tell his party cadres not to criticise the BJP “even if they attack us”.   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reportedly entrusted Naidu with the task of convincing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to support Kovind in the Presidential Elections.

And while the TDP may have welcomed YSRCP’s support of the NDA candidate, the Left parties in the state were quick to call out the main opposition for its political opportunism.

Calling the YSRCP’s move politically immature and blatant opportunism, CPI(M) state secretariat member Y Venkateshwar Rao said, "We can't say anything about TDP's support with BJP's Hindutva face as they are part of the government. But YSRCP's decision shows its lenience towards BJP politics." He also pointed out, “Whatever be Jagan Mohan Reddy’s justification for the move, it cannot convince Dalits and minorities who are suffering after the BJP came to power."

The Left parties together with the Congress and a few other opposition parties are likely to put up an alternative face in the Presidential race.

Reacting to the irony of arch-rivals the TDP and YSRCP coming together on this issue, Telakapalli Ravi, senior political analyst observed, "See all these political parties are of the same nature, be it TDP, YSRCP or for that matter the TRS in Telangana. They have their own narrow interests. They are not bothered about larger issues such as, secularism, federalism".

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