Chandrababu Naidu focused most of his attack on BJP and especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the recently held TDP Mahanadu. A shrewd strategist in Naidu would not have made this attack without any political strategy .
It is a fact that the BJP is not a force to reckon with in Andhra Pradesh politics and the strength of the saffron brigade has further got eroded after Modi dispensation blatantly denied special category status . Yet, Naidu and the TDP continues to focus all its tirade on BJP and in turn desperately attempts to establish that the opposition YSR Congress and even Pawan Kalyan are acting at the behest of BJP leadership .
To understand Naidu’s strategy in the run up to 2019, one has to go to the 2014 . The TDP which suffered humiliating defeats in the by polls in 2012 at the hands of YSR Congress could make surprising comeback in 2014, thanks to the bifurcation of the state and the subsequent political climate
The major bone of contention for the bifurcation was the status of Hyderabad . The Seemandhra people strongly believed that the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh would be grossly discriminated if the capital city goes to Telangana . The feeling that Hyderabad would not be their capital infuriated Seemandhra people . The decades of emotional, physical and economic connect with the sprawling city was the reason for such an emotional reaction.
Chandrababu Naidu could rightly sense the mood of the people and promised to the electorate that he would build a capital that could be much better than Hyderabad . The fact that Naidu during his earlier dispensation as the chief minister of the united state was certainly responsible for locating the city on global information and technology map gave credence to his promise.
The sense of helplessness nurtured by all the parties to sell their narrative over the bifurcation also created feeling that they need a strong and experienced leader who enjoys the centre’s liberal support to lead them to come out of the wounds inflicted by the arbitrary bifurcation.
Chandrababu Naidu could successfully market himself to be the right choice in such a context. His alliance with Modi who was already expected to win the national mandate has further helped him.
Thus, Chandrababu Naidu through his dexterous political skill portrayed Congress as the villain of bifurcation though every other party including TDP was the votary of bifurcation .
Now , in 2019 , it is no guarantee that the same strategy of politics around bifurcation may or may not sell . Naidu was cleverly waiting for an opportunity to build a new political narrative around which he could do electioneering in 2019. The BJP’s blatant denial of what was due to Andhra Pradesh came in handy for Naidu and his party .
Even the other parties also joined in putting Modi in dock over special status and precisely here, Naidu scored over others by pulling out of NDA and the Modi ministry. For reasons not explicitly told, the Opposition YSR Congress was lukewarm in its fight over BJP. The TDP successfully exploited the vacillation in the YSR Congress camp . Thus, Chandrababu Naidu has concentrated his attack on BJP and Modi. This will also help him divert people’s attention from the possible anti-incumbency his government has to face.
To locate himself in the right national context, Naidu also used mahanadu as an opportunity to convince the electorate that TDP would play critical role in 2019 when it comes to formation of new government in New Delhi.
As the 2014 election USP was bifurcation and the Congress , Naidu’s USP for 2019 would be BJP and the denial of special status.
( Prof.K. Nageshwar is India’s noted political analyst. He is a former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India )
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