Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would be closely watched states in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. These two states could even play the role of probable kingmaker. More on this later on.
In the past, no Congress-led government at the Centre has ever been formed without the party doing well in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
However, tables have turned this time. The TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu is now an ally of the UPA and foe of the BJP. He is fighting hard for his survival in Indian politics and keep his party politically relevant. But, so far his efforts have suffered abject failure. 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 a 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. To add insult to the injury, apparently, bête-noire of Naidu – TRS chief and Telangana CM KCR and (YSRCP) chief, YS Jaganmohan Reddy – have joined hands to defeat the TDP in Andhra Pradesh in the upcoming elections.
For more details: Jaganmohan Reddy: The probable Kingmaker
Both KCR and Jaganmohan Reddy, the two favorites to win Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, are not on UPA’s side. In the run-up to Telangana Assembly elections, KCR used unsheathed words to brand Rahul Gandhi as the ‘biggest buffoon’ in the country and went on to add that Rahul visiting Telangana in the future would provide a boost to his party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the polls. Through his statements, KCR had also shred to pieces any chances of TRS joining the so-called united opposition.
According to The Sunday Guardian report, KCR and Jaganmohan Reddy were not keen to side with Mamata Banerjee on the issue of West Bengal CM’s high-profile dharna against the CBI attempting to interrogate the Kolkata police chief. The report further claims that both the leaders did not respond to Mamata’s call to join her protest last week
While addressing a media conference in Hyderabad on Friday YSR Congress MP Y.V. Subba Reddy hit out at Mamata Banerjee over her protest against CBI officers who were there in Kolkata to perform their duty. The YSR Congress MP also said that Mamata’s act goes against the spirit of the constitution. Subba Reddy also ridiculed AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s dharna in Delhi on Monday.
Telangana CM KCR, who met Mamata Banerjee twice in the last few months, did not bother to respond to Mamata’s invitation to Kolkata. The Sunday Guardian quoted sources close to KCR saying that Mamata’s protest against the CBI was “highly unwarranted” and “misplaced anger” against the Centre. This is a clear cut endorsement of PM Modi from their side.
Earlier, KCR had pitched for federal front without Congress and the BJP. The main aim of his proposed federal front is to highlight the rights of the states within the frame of the Constitution and to make regional parties stronger and give more bargaining power in their hands. According to The Sunday Guardian report, he told his party leaders that the federal front should be considered as a gathering of political parties opposed to the powers of the Central government in total.
If this is the case then even if the BJP is short of the majority mark, the TRS and YSR will make up for the loss. 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% of respondents to the survey favored Jaganmohan Reddy as the next Chief Minister of the state, and 38% 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 of 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 the 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. Together they both can contribute 30 to NDA tally.
Last year in August, K. Chandrashekhar Rao discussed the critical 2019 polls during the hour-long meeting with PM Modi in Delhi. K. Chandrashekhar Rao had made it clear that while a pre-poll alliance with the BJP won’t help his party, he was open to the idea of coming together with the BJP for a post-poll alliance in case BJP fell short of the requisite numbers. His party, TRS had also staged a walkout from Lok Sabha during no-confidence exercise thus helping the BJP and his party had also voted for the NDA candidate in the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election. Overall, KCR is in good books with PM Modi and the BJP. If all goes well then he would also bring Jaganmohan Reddy with him into the folds of the NDA.