On Thursday, the top leadership of the Telugu Desam Party made their presence felt at the swearing in of HD Kumaraswamy in Bangalore. Telugu Desam has its own reasons for tweeting. Firstly, Chandrababu Naidu got the support of HD Deve Gowda, in 1996, Naidu was a youth and during his Chief Minister’s tenure he played a key role in making Deve Gowda the Prime Minister. In these 22 years, the political experiences of both have increased. The only political future of Telugu Desam is that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister left the BJP and came close to the old allies.
If Naidu also had problems with Deve Gowda’s new ally, the Congress, he did not let it shine. Surprisingly, instead of showing the Victory sign with fingers, he patted Rahul Gandhi on the back. Shook hands and paid tribute to the audience.
A close aide of Naidu says, “No … no … don’t make too much sense to shake his hand and parent.” Telugu Desam knows that photos with opposition parties can form the basis of critics’ comments. Critics may get a chance to call it homecoming. By 1983, Naidu was in the Congress and at the age of 28, he was the youngest leader to become a minister in the T Anziah government. He joined the TDP after his father-in-law NT Rama Rao came to power.
TDP leader K Rammohan Rao clarifies on Naidu’s presence, “It was not the platform of the Congress.” Rao was instrumental in getting the TDP to have an alliance with the BJP in 2013-14. Now Rao has also got the responsibility of ensuring the important role of Chandrababu Naidu in the opposition camp.
“There has been a close personal relationship between Gowda and Naidu, which is also one reason why Naidu went to Bangalore. The third reason is the TDP’s appeal to the people of Karnataka not to vote for BJP. The absence of Naidu’s appeal BJP could have done better in the border areas, their numbers could have gone from 104 to 112. Fourth, if they did not share the stage, it would have meant that we are not clear about our side right now. “Our presence has ensured that as far as the issues of our states are concerned, our side is anti-Modi,” said Rao.
TDP was founded in 1982 by NT Rama Rao. Then it was the anti-Congress platform, so today when the anti-BJP (read anti Modi) coalition is being seen, it can be misunderstood to stand shoulder to shoulder with Rahul. Naidu can feel relieved that the Congress has a nominal role in Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation of the state in 2014. The Congress does not have a single MP or MLA from Andhra Pradesh, nor is it likely to open its account in the upcoming elections.
In the eyes of the people, the BJP has replaced the Congress in Andhra Pradesh. But Modi did not give special status to Andhra Pradesh, which he promised in the 2014 elections. Congress wants to take advantage of this. The Congress is promising the people of Andhra Pradesh that if it comes to power in 2019, Andhra will be given special status. Even if Naidu does not remain strict about the Congress, there is no possibility of any alliance in Andhra Pradesh.
Jagmohan Reddy and Modi’s close relationship will be in Naidu’s favor. However, an alliance between the BJP and the YSR Congress is unlikely as it would be politically suicidal. Nevertheless, the possibilities of a coalition on some seats or after elections cannot be ruled out.
The crowd of opposition leaders present in Bangalore has given a message to Naidu to ensure regular meetings of regional parties. They should prepare the front of federal and secular parties along with the fabric of state and center. This brings Naidu back to the role of United Front convenor and NDA constituent between 1996 and 2004. He will not get more happiness from this role in any other role.
This will not be a pleasant news for K Chandrashekhar Rao and Telugu strongman leaders as they are exploring an important role on the national stage. KCR, who has traveled to Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore to form a non-BJP, non-Congress platform, will have to come to power in alliance with the JD-S. KCR did not attend the swearing-in ceremony, instead, he greeted the new Chief Minister at Devgowda’s residence a day before the oath. Congress is the main opposition party in Telangana, in such a situation, Congress is not expected to like KCR very much.
In such a situation it is difficult to trust KCR. BJP is not a strong party in Telangana from KCR’s point of view. There KCR faces less danger from BJP than Congress. This is the reason why the anti-Modi camp suspects KCR. He suspects that KCR may be working for Modi.
The first step towards creating a common opposition has been taken in Bengaluru. But it is interesting to keep an eye on the Telugu region, which way are they going.