Chandrababu Naidu is catering to local perception in Andhra Pradesh, which is the anti-Congress sentiment, but maintains an anti-BJP front at the Centre, says TDP spokesperson in defence.
Amaravati: At a time when Chandrababu Naidu has been seen trying to assert himself in the national politics with the Congress-led Mahagathbandhan, the TDP chief plays an odd game in his home state Andhra Pradesh.
The TDP and the Congress have decided not to enter into an alliance, and instead fight the Assembly and the Lok Sabha election individually in the state.
"During the recent Telangana election, the two parties were severely punished. While the Congress may gain to some extent by tying up with the TDP, the latter may find it hard in terms of vote transfer," said Parakala Prabhakar, political analyst.
"We will contest all 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats alone. The TDP allied with us only at the national level, so we will have no truck (with it) in the state," AICC general secretary and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy maintained.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) office-bearers here, Chandy said they would meet again on January 31 to discuss about the poll preparations.
Congress had fought the Telangana Assembly elections in alliance with Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and other two parties (TJS and CPI) but ended up winning just 21 seats (19 won by Congress candidates and two by TDP) in the 119 Assembly constituencies in Telangana.
"The decision of the two parties parting ways in the state of Andhra Pradesh is expected after their defeat in Telangana. Citizens of both the states do not welcome an old party like TDP aligning with an arch rival like the Congress," said Abid Rasool Khan, TRS leader, who was earlier with the Congress in Telangana.
Chandrababu Naidu is losing his credibility as a national leader, Khan added, claiming the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is way too ambitious. "Unlike TDP, TRS is clear in its stand of forming a front devoid of the two national parties," he said.
Sources say that Congress is perceived to have played a pivotal role in the bifurcation of the state and people of Andhra Pradesh have their reservations against the party. "Not just the Congress. The NDA too betrayed Andhra Pradesh," claimed Lanka Dinakar, spokesperson of the TDP. While all parties supported the cause of Telangana, the one to lose was Andhra Pradesh, he said, hinting at how the Centre failed to support their government in terms of the 'special status' for the state.
Chandrababu Naidu is ruining his voter base, said Khan, for he is holding varying principles in the regional level, and at the national level. "He needs to establish his regional base first. He is anyway not welcomed by Mamata Bannerjee too," he said.
According to Khan, Naidu failed to cater to the Muslims in his state. For a very long time, no Muslim was given a ministerial post or a chairmanship. And while Naidu was the NDA convenor, he allegedly played a huge role in the Gujarat riots. "Minorities form 30% of the Andhra Pradesh's population. And Mamata Bannerjee has a large network of Muslims," he said.
Not just the people, even cadres of both Congress and TDP cannot work together. "It's difficult to convince them for they have been rivals for the longest time," said Congress spokesperson Janga Goutham. While Congress supports CPI(M) in certain parts of Kerala, but is the key opposition party at the state Assembly, here too, we have two different stands as far as TDP is concerned, Goutham said.
It's akin to how the BSP and SP are in Uttar Pradesh, said Dinakar.
However, TDP is sailing through stormy seas. While TRS is aiming to make a foray into Andhra Pradesh with YS Jagan, the opposition leader in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu may be cornered, say sources. "While Naidu is embroiled in a tide of turmoil, the lead of Jagan's party as against TDP isn't substantial (not more than 5-6%). And both the party leaders have a lot of opportunities to make mistakes," said Prabhakar.
Jagan is sitting with the leader, who is a "backstabber", said Dinakar. Goutham couldn't agree more.
While there are many contenders for the Prime Minister's post with respect to the Mahagathbandhan, the question now is whether Chandrababu Naidu will get to hold the chief minister's post for the second term in divided Andhra Pradesh.
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Last Updated 24, Jan 2019, 5:15 PM