The landslide victory of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the recent Assembly polls in Telangana may have some impact on the political landscape of neighbouring ‘parent state’ Andhra Pradesh, which will go to the polls in a few months now. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has hinted that he will enter Andhra politics soon, as a ‘return gift’ for TDP’s foray into Telangana politics. “To increase the respect of Telugu people and to make national politics better, we have to work together. Chandrababu Naidu came here and worked, should I not work there (Andhra) too? He came to us with a gift. We will return the gift. If I don't return the gift, he will say Telangana has no manners,” KCR said.
While Chandrababu Naidu responded to KCR's 'return gift' comment, saying anyone can come to Andhra as it is a democracy, it seems the TRS is not the only party that he has to worry about come elections. Apparently, the Telangana ruling party’s ally, AIMIM, too plans to set foot in Andhra; party chief Asaduddin Owaisi has declared that he will be extending his support to YSR Congress Party chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the Andhra Pradesh elections next year.
“I have reiterated this in my public meetings earlier: I will definitely go to Andhra Pradesh. Jagan Mohan Reddy is a good friend of mine and I will campaign in support of him. I will tell Chandrababu Naidu how anti-incumbency hurts,” Owaisi said.
While TDP leaders are brushing off the announcements of KCR and Owaisi as far-fetched, should Chandrababu Naidu be worried? Political observers say that KCR’s second term in Telangana is not a major factor that can influence Andhra’s political landscape, but will be of concern to Naidu. They see a rapid decline in Chandrababu Naidu's graph in both Telugu speaking states, and specifically in Andhra.
Senior analyst Dr Pentapati Pulla Rao said, “Chandrababu will see serious consequences. The blow in Telangana shows that he is losing hold. In Andhra, he is facing anti-incumbency. Whether or not anyone new comes into the picture, the people of Andhra are looking for anyone but Chandrababu Naidu.”
Meanwhile, Chandrababu’s existing rivals are undertaking massive efforts to defeat him. Jagan is on the last leg of his statewide padayatra, which he began with the sole aim of unseating Chandrababu. Pawan Kalyan, who also has chief ministerial ambitions, is on a whirlwind tour and is reaching out to people.
Additionally, prominent Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham, who is leading the Kapu reservation movement, reportedly welcomed KCR's willingness to step into Andhra politics.
TDP however is claiming to be unconcerned. The party’s national spokesperson Dinakar Lanka said that both AIMIM and TRS the parties are irrelevant outside Telangana. “People know very well that they are the B-team of Narendra Modi,” he said, “Everything right from the dissolution of the Assembly has been done as per the directions of Modi, to split anti-Modi votes. In Telangana, Modi even put the BJP at stake for his gains.”