Federal front: An idea that is too nascent to back?

Ch.R.S Sarma/M Somasekhar Visakhapatnam/Hyderabad | Updated on January 18, 2019

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu   -  C.V. Subrahmanyam

N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, has decided not to attend the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos this year. Instead, he is sending his son N Lokesh, who is also the IT Minister, and other officials.

YS Jaganmohan Reddy, leader of the main opposition, YSR Congress Party, too has reportedly called off his personal visit to London at the last minute.

A reading of the political situation in Telengana and AP suggests that these abrupt decisions of the principal players have been forced upon them by recent events.

YSR, KTR meeting

YS Jagan and KT Rama Rao, the Working President of the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS), met in Hyderabad last week and announced their intention to work together for the federal front being pursued by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao.

The front, which will be a non-BJP and non-Cong(I) combine, intends to fight for the rights of the States. The front, according to Naidu, is nothing but a myth or smokescreen created by the BJP to divide the opposition parties. “Now, the mask is off, people know clearly where KCR and Jagan stand. The so-called federal front is just a myth,” he alleged.

After the Telangana Assembly election results were announced, KCR had sarcastically spoken about repaying the debt of Chandrababu Naidu and giving him a return gift. This is probably it, say political analysts.

However, there are many lingering doubts whether the friendship between the YSR Congress and the TRS will fetch dividends in the coming Assembly polls and general eElections in AP.

Some analysts and TDP leaders believe this development may also turn into a blessing in disguise, as it will give an opportunity to TDP leaders to stoke regional feelings, as KCR did in Telangana, and reap the electoral harvest.

“We are eagerly awaiting the return gift of KCR and now the victory of the TDP is certain,” said Pattabhi, a party spokesman.

After the setback to the Praja Front, an alliance of the Congress, the TDP, the CPI and the TJS in Telangana, there is rethink on a similar strategy for the Assembly polls in AP and the general elections on the part of both the TDP and the Congress.

TDP-Cong(I) strain

TDP’s alliance with the Congress proved rather disastrous particularly in Telangana. It gave a big handle to KCR to influence the outcome of the election both politically and sentimentally.

In the 2014 elections, the Congress was swept away by the bifurcation wave and was reduced to zero in the 175-member Assembly. It drew a blank with the 25 LS seats as well.

The national party has not been able to recover since, though party President Rahul Gandhi and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have assured that a ‘secial category status’ (SCS) for the State would be the first decision they would take if the Congress comes back to power at the Centre.

It will have double advantage as the party can target the BJP and the Modi government for neglecting AP and denying SCS and emerge as the biggest champion espousing the cause and sentiments of the Andhras.

Be whatever the electoral impact of Jagan-KCR alliance, it has certainly heated up the political scene in Andhra Pradesh.

Published on January 18, 2019

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