Prof. K Nageshwar On Pawan Kalyan Targeting Chandrababu Naidu

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Contrary to the widespread political expectations that the ruling TDP and the Pawan Kalyan’s JanaSena will be allies in 2019, the JanaSena Chief made a frontal attack on TDP rule. More so his personal attack on Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh has certainly triggered a major political storm in already politically volatile state of Andhra Pradesh.

It is true that the TDP was keen on forging an electoral alliance with JanaSena especially after it estranged BJP. The recent defeats of BJP in Uttar Pradesh by polls enthused TDP as the party felt that its decision to pull out ministers from Modi ministry and ultimately quitting NDA is a politically correct decision. But, Pawan Kalyan’s jape at Naidu and his son shall prove to be a major setback to TDP political maths in the run up to 2019.

The TDP won the 2014 with a slender margin of little over two percent votes when the BJP and the JanaSena were with the TDP. Now, that the BJP will no longer be the electoral ally of TDP, the latter would certainly loose some percentage of votes, notwithstanding the calculation that people of Andhra Pradesh are hostile to BJP due to its denial of Special Status. The TDP in fact expected to compensate this loss to an extent by retaining the friendship with Pawan Kalyan. Besides, Pawan was a critical factor in enlisting the support of Kapus for TDP in 2014. The Kapu vote is a decisive factor in a at least 40 seats in the 175 member Legislative assembly of Andhra Pradesh. The TDP can even face some level of anti-incumbency by the time elections approach. Given these factors, JanaSena’s support is essential for the TDP to retain power in 2019. No other party can be an ally for TDP. With the hostile attitude taken by the JanaSena, the TDP has to face the polls on its own.

There are two distinct theories being floated in the political circles on the question of what would be the political fallout of Pawan’s latest tirade targeted at TDP.

Firstly, as section of political opinion especially YSR Congress still feels that Pawan factor is choreographed to suit Chandrababu Naidu’s interests in 2019. With Pawan taking anti-government stand, the opposition vote would further get fragmented thus in ultimate analysis benefitting the ruling TDP.
However, a second interpretation could be JanaSena will be getting both the anti-incumbency vote as well as the votes that TDP could have polled if Pawan has not taken a strident anti-Naidu position.
The second explanation could be more nearer to reality as Pawan is part of the 2014 mandate in favour of TDP. Any exit of Pawan Kalyan would certainly cost the TDP.

Thus, Andhra Pradesh is to witness a much more serious multi-cornered contest as Janasena will now be in the electoral fray unlike 2014.

The BJP will anyhow be the target of all the political parties in the State. The relatively soft stand of Jaganmohan Reddy towards BJP despite he strongly advocating Special Status to Andhra Pradesh would prove to be dearer as Pawan joins the campaign against the saffron brigade on the question of Special Status. As Pawan Kalyan announced his decision to go on fast unto death amidst TDP, YSRCP MPs protesting in Parliament, the Special Status issue will become much more sharper.

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