The political scene in North Coastal Andhra hit a feverish pitch on Friday with the decision of senior TDP leader Dadi Veerabhadra Rao to quit and switch over to YSR Congress leaving his long time rival and YSRC leader, Konathala Ramakrishna and his supporters confused.
On its part, the TDP appeared unfazed by Mr. Rao’s move and senior leaders of the region asserted that a large section of its cadre would remain in the party.
They deplored the criticism levelled against TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu and disagreed with Mr. Rao’s charge that the party neglected him and did not treat him with respect.
Of the 31 years the party was in existence, he had enjoyed power for 26 years. For 20 years, he was MLA and minister twice and leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, a post higher in protocol than that of his counterpart in the Assembly, Mr. Naidu himself, they say.
Former Minister Bandaru Satyanarayana Murthy recalled that Mr. Rao and M.V. Mysoora Reddy, now in YSRC, authored the “Raja of Corruption” booklet brought out by the TDP.
But his decision seems to have a devastating effect both on TDP and even YSRC cadres.
“The decision is stunning and we are unable to digest it,” says TDP’s official spokesman Bolisetty Srinivasa Rao of Anakapalle.
His assessment was that 70 per cent of the cadres were not prepared to quit the TDP.
“We are a confused lot. Suddenly, we find ourselves orphaned,” he said.
The YSRC also finds it hard to welcome Mr. Rao. The local cadres were not prepared to accept him. A meeting with about 400 cadres present opposed his entry.
“This is not the first time or last time we are opposing him. We have been doing so for the past 25 years,” Konathala Lakshminarayana said.
He denied that any decision was taken in the party at higher levels to admit him.
However, former Congress Minister and YSRC leader Konathala Ramakrishna said that he would abide by the decision of the party high command and called upon the cadre to exercise restraint and honour the decision of the party leadership.
The only party that seems ready to welcome him is Congress with Ministers Ganta Srinivasa Rao and P. Balaraju inviting him into its fold.