It’s seen as last-ditch effort to keep sagging morale of partymen high and to prevent further depletion of cadre strength

The Telugu Desam Party is leaving no stone unturned to keep itself afloat in Telangana, including playing the “BC-as-CM” card following erosion in its ranks triggered by the Telangana sentiment.

“I have released the ‘Rama banam’ (a powerful arrow) of the Chief Minister’s post to backward classes who comprise more than half of the society not only to empower these sections but also to neutralise the TRS-Congress conspiracy to destroy us in Telangana. It will work wonders beyond the imagination of others and the expectations of our own ranks,” a beaming TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu said recently.

The BC-as-CM card of Mr. Naidu is being seen as a last-ditch effort to keep the sagging morale of partymen high in Telangana and to prevent further depletion of cadre strength. “Yes, it’s a move to protect the party the TRS and Congress are portraying us betrayers of Telangana though we had given the letter in favour of statehood before any other party,” a trusted lieutenant of Mr. Naidu from Mahabubnagar district said.

Worries of the TDP leadership are buttressed by the fact that 15 out of its 38 MLAs elected in 2009 have deserted the party so far fearing electoral drubbing. Fourteen of the MLAs joined the TRS, while the other MLA crossed over to the Congress.

By inducting BC leader R. Krishnaiah into the TDP, Mr. Naidu is hoping that BC communities would rally behind the party. The fact of the matter is that BCs comprising nearly 200 separate communities have never been a homogeneous group.

Detractors of TDP say that Mr. Naidu’s ploy won’t work since Telangana people are aware of his dilly-dallying on the statehood issue in the run-up to the passage of the Bill in Parliament. “Mr. Naidu cannot fool people anymore,” TRS MLA T. Harish Rao said, pointing out that with BCs distancing from the TDP its candidates had to forfeit deposits in every by-election fought after 2009.