After enthusiastically campaigning for the Congress, a party that N. T. Rama Rao fought against for his whole life, Chandrababu Naidu has finally decided to divorce the Grand Old Party in Andhra Pradesh. According to the AAJ TAK report, the TDP does not want to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the Congress in the state. The TDP is reluctant to initiate talks on seat sharing formula with the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha as well as state assembly elections.
The decision has come after the humiliating failure of the Mahakutami – a joint opposition alliance comprising the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Congress, the Telangana Jana Samithi, and the CPI – in the recently concluded Telangana Assembly elections. The alliance failed completely and had no significant impact in the state. It was a huge setback for the proponents of opposition unity. It seems that this failure has started showing its reverberations on the national level politics as well as in Andhra Pradesh.
For more details: Does ‘C’ in Nara Chandrababu Naidu stand for Chameleon?
In fact, TDP chief Naidu met with Rahul Gandhi very recently on January 8 to cement ties with the Congress. Over the last few months, he has been conducting the meeting with the regional parties and other major parties and projecting himself as the one who is leaving no stone unturned to bring an anti-BJP alliance together. He enthusiastically brought a No-Confidence motion in the parliament against the Modi government and has been launching a mindless tirade against the incumbent central government.
However, it seems that ground realities seem to have acted as an eye opener and he no longer wishes to align with the party which is politically irrelevant in Andhra Pradesh. The Congress faced the wrath of voters after the partition of the state. The Congress suffered humiliating defeats in 2014 Lok Sabha as well as the state assembly elections. In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress does not have any MLAs or MPs. The Andhra Pradesh assembly elections will be held along with the Lok Sabha elections. In such a scenario it would be a compulsion for the TDP to contest both the elections in alliance with the Congress.
There are many other reasons behind why TDP is avoiding to enter into an alliance with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh. First, failure of Mahakutami in Telangana as stated above. Second, there is no guarantee that there will be a complete transfer of votes in the state in case of TDP-Congress alliance. Third, there is still huge anger among the people against the Congress for dividing Andhra Pradesh. Key city Hyderabad has been allocated to Telangana after the partition of the state. Fourth, if the Congress contests alone in the state then there is a possibility that the anti-incumbency votes would get divided between the Congress and the principal opposition party in the state – the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP). The followers of Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy are already very confident that YSRCP will triumph over TDP after the failure of Mahakutami in Telangana. The TDP and Chandrababu Naidu had opposed the creation of a separate Telangana in 2014, and in 2018 Telangana state assembly elections Naidu’s party aligned with the very same party which divided the state. The YSRCP would definitely highlight the hypocrisy of Naidu in the run-up to elections. Fifth, INC is politically irrelevant in the state.
Another important factor is Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Rahul bungles up when it comes to managing alliances. Many regional leaders resist the temptation of entering into an alliance with the Congress having Rahul Gandhi at the helm of the affairs. Rahul Gandhi’s inept leadership, weak organizational skills, immaturity and inability to take the stand on crucial issues are some of the reasons behind Congress’ treatment as the political pariah. In the recent times, any party which has aligned with the Congress only ended facing humiliation be it SP in UP, TDP in Telangana or JD (S) in Karnataka. After the failed Mahagathbandhan experiment in Bihar of which Congress was also a part of, the SP-BSP avoided including the grand old party in their grand-alliance in UP ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha elections. It is of no surprise that Rahul Gandhi and his leadership is the prominent reason behind the failure Mahagathbandhan in Bihar. His presence benefits neither the party nor its allies. It looks like that reality of Rahul Gandhi’s incompetence has finally sobered Naidu up. After the failure of Mahakutami, he has realized that Rahul Gandhi is a liability.
On Tuesday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar gave a strong message to those who want to join Rahul Gandhi. He said that it was Rahul Gandhi’s inability to take a stand on corruption charges against RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav which finally compelled him to take a decision against the grand alliance.
For more details: Nitish’s message to those who want to join Rahul Gandhi