Andhra Pradesh

Analysis: TDP’s politics comes a full circle, from a rebellious ally to obedient Opposition party

TDP national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naiduu.

TDP national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naiduu.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

Jagan Reddy our only one political enemy and we have to concentrate our energies in countering him, it says

On Tuesday as 18 Opposition parties congregated at the Ambedkar statue in the Parliament gardens boycotting the joint session called by the government to mark the Constitution Day, the Telugu Desam Party was nowhere to be seen.

The TDP, which after its divorce from the BJP in March 2018 had emerged as a leading force to unite the Opposition in the last Lok Sabha, has quietly slipped out of the Opposition circle. It has subtly aligned itself with the BJP, toned down its criticism of the government and overall lying low in Parliament.

On both Article 370 and the controversial UAPA bill, it supported the government. On the Citizenship Bill too, sources said, the party is likely to express its reservations but would go with the government. The Triple Talaq Act was the only controversial legislation that it had voted against the government.

With this, the TDP’s politics has come a full circle from what had started out in September 2017. It began as a murmur. From being a supporter of the demonetisation, its supremo and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had started saying it can’t be treated as the magic cure for all the ills. By March 2018, the murmur had converted into a roar. The TDP was chafing at the restrictions laid down by its senior ally BJP. It walked out the alliance and pulled out its Ministers from the Narendra Modi Cabinet.

For over a year till the general elections, the party had emerged as the driving force uniting the Opposition parties, setting the agenda for agitations and talking about coming on a common platform. These months saw Mr. Naidu flying out to Delhi almost every other week. He shared platform with the Congress in a watershed moment for the TDP considering its anti-Congress roots.

From being a party of 15 MPs, it won only three seats in the Lok Sabha in the May 2019 elections. And two months later in June, four of its six MPs in the Rajya Sabha had switched sides to the BJP. This is the lowest tally of MPs for the party since its inception.

“We are not in a position to make new enemies. We have only one political enemy which is Jagan Mohan Reddy and we have to concentrate our energies in countering him,” a TDP MP said. He said while the party was laying the foundation of opposition unity, the ground beneath its feet was lost back home in the State.

Addressing party cadres in October, Mr. Naidu conceded that leaving the NDA was a mistake.

“Even days before the Lok Sabha results, Mr. Naidu had asked all parties to come together, to hold a meeting but no one heeded. So what is the point of working with the Congress and others,” another MP said.

The BJP meanwhile is not showing any sympathy to its old ally. It continues to cold shoulder it. The TDP has been served notice to vacated its prime ground floor room right next to the BJP office in the Rajya Sabha. While they are still holding on to the space, the ever-expanding BJP office has taken off a portion of the TDP’s room too.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:21:51 AM |

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