Advantage TDP in Andhra: What does the Trend Reflect?
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have had a tumultuous relationship in Andhra Pradesh over the years. They were allies in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, but parted ways in 2018 over the issue of special status for the state. Since then, they have been bitter rivals, with the TDP accusing the BJP of betraying the state and the BJP blaming the TDP for corruption and misgovernance and having an alliance with the YSR Congress Party.
However, there have been some recent developments that suggest a possible revival of the alliance between the two parties. In November 2021, Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Andhra Pradesh and ruled out any alliance with the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), led by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. He also told the state BJP leaders to work aggressively to come to power on their own in the next elections. He also hinted at a possible tie-up with the TDP, saying that its days were not over and that it was a natural choice for the BJP.
In March 2023, there were further signs of a thaw in the relations between the BJP and the TDP. The two parties formed an alliance in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to win the municipal council elections. The TDP emerged as the kingmaker with two seats and chose to support BJP. The parties agreed to share the chairperson’s seat. Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and BJP’s national president J.P. Nadda expressed satisfaction over the partnership.
So, what are the prospects of a BJP-TDP alliance for elections in 2024 in Andhra Pradesh? There are several factors that could influence this decision.
- The first factor is the performance of the YSRCP government, which has been facing allegations of corruption, nepotism, authoritarianism and minority appeasement from its opponents. The YSRCP has also been accused of undermining democratic institutions, such as courts, media and civil society. The BJP and the TDP have been trying to expose these charges and mobilize public opinion against the government.
- The second factor is the political arithmetic of the state. Which is divided into four regions: Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema, North Telangana and South Telangana. The YSRCP has a strong base in Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, while the TDP has a loyal following in North Telangana. The BJP has been trying to expand its presence in South Telangana, where it has some pockets of influence. An alliance between the BJP and the TDP could help them consolidate their respective vote banks. And challenge the YSRCP in all regions, including the neighbouring state of Telangana.
- The third factor is the national scenario, which could have an impact on the state politics. The BJP is aiming to retain power at the Centre in 2024. While facing a united opposition led by the Congress. The TDP is also part of this opposition bloc, along with other regional parties. However, if the BJP offers some concessions to the TDP on issues such as special status, development funds and political appointments. It could persuade Naidu to switch sides and join hands with Modi.
- The fourth factor is the personal equation between Modi and Naidu, which has been strained since their fallout in 2018. Both leaders have exchanged harsh words and accusations against each other in public rallies and media interviews. However, they have also shown some signs of pragmatism and flexibility in dealing with each other. For instance, Modi praised Naidu for his role in developing Hyderabad as an IT hub during his visit to Telangana in December 2021. Naidu also congratulated Modi for his successful handling of COVID-19 pandemic in April 2022. These gestures indicate that there is still some scope for reconciliation between them.
In conclusion, a BJP-TDP alliance for elections in 2024 in Andhra Pradesh is not impossible. But it depends on several factors that could change over time. Both parties have their own strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges, interests and aspirations.
Recent statements from Chandrababu Naidu stating that “we will align with any party that works for India’s development. And implements that Vision” has also sent alarm bells ringing. But, both parties will have to weigh them carefully, before making any decision that could alter their political fortunes.
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.