Currently a pale shadow of its once glorious self in Telangana, few would think that the TDP would nurse any hopes for a revival in the state. But with assembly elections expected later this year, the TDP is making clear that it may be down but it’s certainly not out.
In late December last year, the TDP had organised a public meeting in Khammam district of Telangana. The massive response to the meet, the party’s first mega event held in the state after almost four years, came as a boost for party chief Chandrababu Naidu who had become almost reconciled to the prospects of limiting his political activities to Andhra Pradesh.
At the Khammam meet, vowing to revive the party in Telangana, Naidu laid out his plans to groom a new leadership team for the state even as he exhorted those, who had left the TDP for greener pastures, to return.
Developments in the region in the recent past have prompted the party to test its fortunes at the hustings in Telangana for the third time after the state was formed in 2014.
The arrival on the scene of Y. S. Sharmila and her YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) have emboldened the TDP also to throw its hat in the state’s political arena once again.
Daughter of former chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy, and sister of Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the present chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sharmila is moving ahead despite the TRS’ attempts to brand her as an ‘Andhra’ or outsider.
More importantly, the rebranding of the ruling TRS into the BRS and its foray into Andhra Pradesh, have diluted the concept of outside political parties in Telangana. The TDP sees this as an opportune moment to bounce back into Telangana politics.
“KCR will find it difficult to object to the presence of TDP in Telangana when he himself is venturing into Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, he’ll find it difficult to maintain political momentum in Telangana as well as rest of the country. And also, there’s a growing disappointment in Telangana with his style of governance and autocratic functioning. People know that the TDP ruled undivided Andhra Pradesh well,” a TDP leader told IANS.
With assembly elections in Telangana expected to take place towards the end of this year, the TDP had begun to get its act ready.
“We are forming 1,300 teams to knock on each household and garner support for the party,” the TDP’s Telangana unit chief Kasani Gnaneshwar has stated. The party also plans to announce its candidates well ahead of the polls.
However the going is not going to be easy for the TDP which has ended up somewhat as a pariah of Telangana politics, political analysts opine. According to party insiders, the plan would be to hook up with like-minded parties in the run-up to the polls.
However, there are practically no options. The BJP which has emerged as the only potential rival to the BRS, is not at all keen for a tie-up with the TDP as it feels the ‘Andhra’ tag could negatively impact its own chances.
Reviving its presence in Telangana is important for the TDP for several reasons, feel observers. For the moment, the TDP is at the crossroads, intent on regaining political relevance in Telangana.