The ruling YSRCP and main Opposition TDP, which are at loggerheads in Andhra Pradesh as the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government is scrapping most of the major decisions of the previous Chandrababu Naidu dispensation, have been bitter political rivals for quite some time.
The acrimony which marred the poll campaign and the clashes during elections held in April spilled over in May when the results were declared. With YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) unseating Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with a huge majority, the simmering tensions between the two parties snowballed into an open confrontation.
It has been two-and-half months since YSRCP stormed to power, some villages are still witnessing clashes between the cadres of the two parties. TDP alleged that YSRCP targeting their cadre and even those who voted for the party.
The families of the top leaders of both the parties have been bitter rivals for over two decades. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was the leader of opposition between 1999 and 2004 when TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu was the chief minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
YSR, as Rajasekhara Reddy was popularly known, led Congress to power in 2004, ending nearly decade long rule of Naidu. It was a reversal of roles for the two leaders between 2004 and 2009.
A few months after retaining power in 2009, YSR died in a helicopter crash plunging the state into political chaos. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was then a Congress MP, revolted against the party after it rejected his claim to the chief minister’s post.
Jagan, as the young leader is popularly known, quit Congress and floated YSRCP in 2011. The same year he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in illegal assets case and spent more than a year in jail. He blamed the conspiracy of then Congress government and Naidu for implicating him in false cases.
In the aftermath of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Naidu and Jagan were locked in the battle for power in the residuary state. People apparently preferred Naidu’s experience to steer the new state. Though nearly two dozen YSRCP MLAs and several MPs defected to TDP after 2014 polls, Jagan did not give up and finally succeeded in unseating Naidu in the recent polls.
While in opposition, Jagan had targeted Naidu for engineering defections and for corruption in various projects. After coming to power, the young leader announced review of all decisions of the previous government and decided to cancel the tenders which were awarded in alleged violation of rules.
TDP is calling it a political vendetta. “Jagan Mohan Reddy is doing all this because he wants to take revenge on us but he is forgetting that it is the state which is suffering,” senior TDP leader and former minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy told IANS.
YSRCP, however, rubbished the allegations of political vendetta. “TDP is running a campaign to mislead people. People rejected Chandrababu Naidu for misleading and betraying them but he and his party appear to have not learnt any lesson from their defeat,” said YSRCP spokesman Ambati Rambabu.