In Telangana its curtains down for the TDP in LS

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 26, 2019

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu

The last minute shock administered by industrialist, Nama Nageswara Rao by defecting to the Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) to fight the Khammam Lok Sabha seat in Telangana has effectively pulled the curtains down for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from contesting any seat in the April 11, Lok Sabha polls.

The bigger hit on the powerful regional party, founded by the NT Rama Rao in 1982 and sworn to power in 1983, is being shut out of an electoral contest for Parliament in Telangana for the first time since its debut in the 1984 elections.

The development can be a setback for N Chandrababu Naidu, TDP supremo and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, who has been nursing ambitions of growing the regional party into a national entity. Forced to go without a candidate in the Telangana LS elections and pushed to the backfoot in the elections in his homeground by the relentless campaign led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress and the BJP, Naidu finds himself in a challenging situation indeed.

According to TDP sources, the party was not in favour of contesting this time in Telangana. In 2014, the TDP candidate Malla Reddy secured the Malkajgiri seat, but later defected to the TRS.

The Congress (I), which lead a Praja Front with the TDP, the TJS and the CPI in the December 2018 Assembly elections, but sufferred a drubbing at the hands of the TRS led by K Chandrasekhar Rao, has meanwhile reached out to the TDP to extend support to its candidates fighting in all the 17 LS seats.

Interestingly, the NTR wave during 1983 Legislative Assembly polls in the combined Andhra Pradesh, which rode him to power in just nine months of establishing the TDP winning 199 out of the 294 seats, also effectively halted the sympathy wave that saw Rajiv Gandhi being swept to power with a massive 406 out out of the 545 member Lok Sabha in 1984.

In the elections held post the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984, where the BJP ended up with two seats, the TDP led by NTR won 30 of the 42 seats in AP, handing out a severe drubbing to the Congress (I) in the State. In fact, during the Rajiv Gandhi Prime Ministership, the TDP was the main opposition in Parliament. NT Rama too donned the role of Chairman of the National Front, an alliance of opposition parties for sometime.

The TDP has always been a strong force in Telangana. Even during the separate statehood movement for Telangana in 2009, it managed to get 47 seats as part of the Mahakutami with TRS and Left parties against YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s Congress.

The decline began with the bifurcation of the State in 2014. In the simultaneous elections held in May of that year, the TDP bagged 15 seats in the Legislative Assembly strength of 119 and one in the LS of 17 seats. It managed to come to power in AP Assembly with 106 of the 175 and bagged 15 seats out of the 25 there.

Published on March 25, 2019

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