The BJP ally turned foe, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh -Chandrababu Naidu- emerged as the biggest political loser in 2018. The No-confidence motion introduced by his party against the BJP turned out to be a complete fiasco, his efforts to stitch up a grand-alliance against the BJP also didn’t pay off, and last but not the least, the joint opposition alliance, Prajakutami – comprising of the Telugu Desam Party, the Congress, the Telangana Jana Samithi, and the CPI suffered humiliating defeat in the Telangana state assembly elections.
All these disappointments and failures have contributed to the downfall of CBN and his party in Andhra Pradesh and neighboring Telangana, as well as at national level politics. Reverberations of the TDP’s shellacking in Telangana are clearly visible in Andhra Pradesh now. The Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) chief, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, in AP seems very happy with the humiliating defeat of his arch-rival, Chandrababu Naidu, in Telangana. His followers are also very confident that YSRCP will triumph over TDP. The fall of Naidu is likely to bolster the prospects for YSR in the state.
In recent times, Jaganmohan Reddy has made several crucial moves that are going to have long term effects. He is going to launch a new tour in the name of Samara Shankaravam from February 4th. Earlier, he successfully completed his Paja Sankalpa Yatra across the length and breadth of Andhra Pradesh, meeting people belonging to various sections of society. His father and the late Congress leader- YS Rajasekhara (YSR) Reddy’s 1,400km long foot-march resulted in the defeat of Chandrababu Naidu and his becoming CM. Jagan is trying to follow the footsteps of his father.
According to a New Indian Express report, the new campaign is aimed at meeting the party’s rank and file in every district. The first meeting will be conducted at Tirupati on February 4, and the next two meetings will be organized at Kadapa and Anantapur on February 5 and 6 respectively. The meetings will take place across 13 districts.
Speaking on the occasion, the senior party leader Ramachandra Reddy said that only Jaganmohan Reddy was leading the fight for Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh from day one through various protests and hunger strikes. The New Indian Express quoted him saying, “All the welfare schemes such as Aarogyasri, fee reimbursement, etc, are the brainchild of former CM Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Handri-Neeva project was completed 83 percent under the Rajasekhara Reddy regime but Naidu is claiming credit for that. None of the 600 promises made by Naidu was fulfilled and there was large-scale corruption in the government. He can’t mention the name of one project he has introduced for people’s welfare.”
He also said that various surveys suggest that the TDP would suffer defeat in the upcoming polls and Jagan would play a crucial role in the politics of deciding the PM candidate. Ramachandra Reddy also highlighted Naidu’s hypocrisy. He said, “Naidu bought over 23 YSRC MLAs and gave them ministerial berths. His call for defeat of defectors during his election campaign in Telangana exposed his double standards. Naidu is copying the Navaratnalu schemes proposed by Jagan.”
The main focus of Samara Shankaravam tour is to win 60 out of a total of 74 seats in Rayalaseema while Southern Coastal Andhra is the strong hold of the opposition party. The task is not easy but if the party achieves its target then securing simple majority would not be difficult for the YSRCP because then the party would only need to win 28 out of remaining 101 seats. In 2014 elections, the YSRCP won 43 out of the 74 seats in the region.
The main opposition party is also highlighting the fact that Naidu has betrayed the NTR’s legacy. The TDP was formed by NT Rama Rao to make Andhra Pradesh free of Congress. After 36 years, the politics have taken such a turn that TDP ended up joining hands with the Congress in Telangana and Naidu left no stone unturned and sang paeans in the honor of Rahul Gandhi. It would be interesting to see how the people of Andhra Pradesh would react to Naidu’s political opportunism. With his move to join hands with Congress, Chandrababu Naidu has undermined every tenet of the party which his father-in-law had founded.
For more details:Chandrababu Naidu withers away NTR’s legacy
The grandson of NT Rama Rao and son of Daggubati Purandeswari- Daggubati Hitesh Chenchuram- is joining the YSR Congress on the eve of the 2019 general elections. It is expected that YSRC might field him from the Parchur Assembly constituency in the Prakasham district for the upcoming polls. Naidu is not likely to take this kindly. Daggubati’s family has always been in the anti-Naidu camps, Hitesh’s mother is in the BJP.
Furthermore, Jaganmohan Reddy is expected to meet Telangana CM KCR in Vishakhapattnam on February 14. Both the leaders are expected to script strategies to remove Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu from power. KCR termed it as a ‘return gift’ to Naidu for contesting in the recently concluded Telangana assembly elections. Earlier this month, his son- KTR– also met with Jagan and discussed the federal front and many other issues related to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. According to The News Minute, emerging from the meeting with KTR, Jagan said, “I spoke to KCR garu on the phone and we discussed about the federal front and about the injustice from the Centre to the states. If we want that to change, we need to act. Take special status to Andhra for example. A promise made with the Parliament as witness, was not fulfilled. Many such promises are pending.” He also said, “If we look at the MP representation of each state, it is not much, which is why even with 25 MPs in AP when we demanded special status, nothing happened. But now with 17 MPs from Telangana joining hands, it will make our case much better and stronger and the Centre cannot ignore it.” Naidu is the common political enemy of both KCR and Jaganmohan Reddy and both want to politically finish off Naidu.
According to a The News Minute report, in a survey carried out by the ‘Political Stock Exchange Programme’ by India Today and My Axis in September 2018, around 43% respondents to the survey favored Jaganmohan Reddy as the next Chief Minister of the state, and 38 % respondents supported the incumbent CM, N Chandrababu Naidu.
According to an opinion poll by Republic TV-CVoter released in December, the YSRCP could win 14 out of the 25 seats in Andhra Pradesh, and the remaining seats would be won by the Congress-TDP. The survey also said that YSRCP’s vote share- 41.6 percent will be more than the TDP-Congress’ 38.2 percent vote share.
In Telangana, TRS is hoping to win 16 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats. KTR had said, “If we give 16 seats to KCR, he will bend Delhi’s neck and we can get the funds for our state, the interests due to Hyderabad and schemes from the Centre to our people.” KCR with 16 seats and Jaganmohan with 14 seats could bargain hard at the Centre.
All the meetings and tours conducted by Jaganmohan Reddy are indicative of the fact that he is ready to play in the big league, and would probably emerge as the Kingmaker.