It appears that TDP supremo, Chandrababu Naidu has realised his folly as the Andhra leader has admitted, for the first time since the massive setback during the Lok Sabha polls this year, that severing ties with the BJP was a mistake. Naidu, former Andhra Pradesh CM, made this admission during a party meeting at Visakhapatnam. Naidu is reported to have told his party cadres, “We severed ties with the BJP and withdrew our ministers from the union cabinet to press our demands on Amaravati, Polavaram and Special status.” Naidu also opined that the move backfired and the party suffered a huge setback due to the decision to part ways with the BJP.
Naidu also regretted affiliating with the Congress and said, “I had taken the decision to share seats with Congress in Telangana. We fared miserably. Halfway through I realised that it was a grave mistake, but it was too late.”
First indications of the TDP reshaping its stand came in August this year, with the Naidu led party supporting the Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution. Before that, the TDP’s act of abstaining when the Triple Talaq Bill came up before the Rajya Sabha, could be taken as an indication of change in TDP’s approach towards the BJP.
Prime Minister Modi had cautioned TDP when it proposed the no-confidence motion in Parliament last year against the Modi government. PM Modi had said that Naidu has fallen into the trap of the YSRCP. It must be noted that when the BJP-TDP alliance had run into trouble, BJP had made efforts to placate its ally in Andhra Pradesh.
According to an ET report, PM Modi had given the responsibility of placating the TDP supremo to top party leaders- Amit Shah and the then Finance Minister, late Arun Jaitley. However, Naidu had other plans and the alliance between the two parties ultimately broke out. Now, Naidu seems to have realised that it was a big mistake. While the BJP led NDA came back to power for a second term with a humongous mandate, Naidu led TDP seems to be struggling for political survival after a disastrous performance during the simultaneous Lok Sabha and legislative assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh earlier this year.
The 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw many political heavyweights facing embarrassing defeats. Former Andhra CM, Naidu topped the list of political losers. His party was reduced to just 23 seats out of the total 175 Assembly constituencies in the state, compared to more than 100 seats in the last assembly elections.
Even in the Lok Sabha Elections TDP lost huge political ground to the YSRCP, TDP is now reduced to just 3 Parliamentary Constituencies in the state out of the total 25.
TDP, as a part of the NDA in the 2014 general elections, had emerged victorious on 15 seats. It was only because of Naidu’s tomfoolery and the decision to sever relations with the BJP that the Jaganmohan Reddy regime has come to power in the state, whose tenure has already witnessed several controversies over minority appeasement.
Chandrababu Naidu’s “terrorist” remark about PM Modi, for example, will now come back to haunt him even as he seems to be positioning himself towards making attempts at reconciliation with the BJP. The BJP has already shown reluctance with Deccan Herald quoting a senior BJP leader as saying, “BJP President Amit Shah has then told Naidu that the doors are closed for him and his regional party with the NDA.”
In the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Naidu had emerged as one of the most frantic lobbyists for the Mahagathbandhan against the BJP after he walked out of the NDA. Holding meetings with regional parties and leaders made him appear as one of the most ardent supporters of an anti-BJP alliance. Through the course of his ultra-ambitious campaign to emerge at the forefront of an anti-BJP alliance, he ended up damaging his relationship with the BJP irreparably.