Monday, April 21, 2014

TDP's wrong moves in AP

With elections coming soon in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the BJP-TDP alliance, which was seen as a momentous alliance that could push both Chandrababu Naidu as well as Narendra Modi to majorities in the residual Assembly and the Lok Sabha respectively, seems to be coming undone. After a near-collapse in Seemandhra was aborted by the timely intervention of the BJP's Prakash Javedkar, now there are reports that the TDP is fielding candidates in seats that were allotted to the BJP, flouting the alliance.

All this is grim news not just for the BJP but also for the TDP. In Telangana, the TDP is certain to sit in the opposition with a TRS wave pushing KCR to power in Hyderabad, marking the third consecutive defeat for Naidu since he was first defeated by YSR Reddy in 2004. Moreover, this defeat would be at the hands of another opposition party, pushing the TDP out of relevance in Telangana and thus demonstrating the total failure of Naidu's 'two eyes' posture to the issue of bifurcation. It will be decades before the TDP can salvage itself.

In the residual Andhra Pradesh, the TDP is facing a tough fight from the YSR Congress, led by YSR's son Jagan Reddy. Although recent opinion polls put the TDP ahead of the YSRC, the difference is well within the margin of error and an outright majority seems difficult. Therefore, there is a very real chance for the TDP to remain in Opposition in both the Telugu-speaking states for the third term in a row, destroying the very idea on which the party was founded by NT Rama Rao.

This nightmare situation can be avoided however, if the TDP retains its alliance with the BJP. In Telangana, the BJP continues to retain support in and around Hyderabad and that support is set to grow as a result of the party's consistent stand on bifurcation as well as the Modi wave; in AP, the votes that the BJP would hold in urban areas particularly in Vizag (where former Union Minister D Purandeshwari is from) would push the TDP-BJP alliance beyond the margin of error and bring it to power in the residual state. With that, the TDP would remain relevant in Telangana and possibly form a government in AP, while Narendra Modi would become Prime Minister of India. With the TDP being a part of the ruling alliance at the Center, the residual state would be able to make a good start, with Telangana already being in a surplus thanks to Hyderabad.

With all these at stake, it seems impossible to believe that the alliance could fall and yet that is exactly what is happening. If sources are to be believed, the reason is rather petty, with personal prejudices taking precedence. Chandrababu Naidu must realize that for him in particular, this election is a do-or-die situation; for Narendra Modi, this election is crucial because if LK Advani is any precedent to go by, he will not have another shot at the top post in the country. For the country as a whole, the alliance is important to give India a stable government and not one propped up by the Congress till Rahul Gandhi decides it's time to call a mid-term election.

Therefore, the BJP and the TDP must bury their differences and keep this alliance alive else both stand to suffer, but the TDP much more. 

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