Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh: Cadre loyal to YSRCP since inception seem disillusioned in Kuppam

Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Minister P. Ramachandra Reddy with party cadres during his visit to Kuppam. File photo: Special Arrangement

Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Minister P. Ramachandra Reddy with party cadres during his visit to Kuppam. File photo: Special Arrangement

The elections to the Legislative Assembly are still a couple of years away. But the political atmosphere in Kuppam constituency, which is represented by TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu, is already charged up as though a notification has been issued and the battle lines are drawn.

Ever since the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) came to power in 2019, its mission in Chittoor district has been to defeat Mr. Naidu in his home turf. The entire cadre has been working on it under the guidance of Minister for Mines and Energy Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy.

Giving their efforts a big push, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, for the first time in the last three years, met party workers from Kuppam at his camp office recently and discussed the way forward. They were led by MLC K.R.J. Bharath, who had already been declared the party candidate from Kuppam in the 2024 elections.

It is said that Mr. Bharath, who had lost to Mr. Naidu in 2019, has also been assured a place in the Cabinet if he wins.

Support base

The cadre base in Kuppam can be categorised as those who had joined the party between 2011 and 2014 and those who switched loyalties from the Congress and the TDP in 2019.

Interestingly, while a major chunk of the former is maintaining a low profile, the cadre forming a part of the latter is said to be enjoying the fruits of the 2019 victory by bagging plum posts in the party.

“Prior to 2019, there were three to four contenders for the Kuppam ticket. Now, Mr. Bharath is the official candidate again. He already enjoys two party posts — incharge of Kuppam constituency and president of Chittoor district. As none else is eyeing the Kuppam ticket in the party, there is no competition for him in 2024. In such a scenario, the political activity well in advance is surprising,” says a leader who claims to be with the party since its inception.

Concurring with the view, a few others say they will stay away from active campaigning in the 2024 elections as they are not happy for not being included in the team that met Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy recently. “A majority of the members led by Mr. Bharath was from the so-called second group,” they allege.

Change in thinking

Meanwhile, there seems to be a gradual change in the political thinking of the people of Kuppam.

Some of those who had sympathised with the YSRCP in 2019 now maintain that the “defeat of Mr. Naidu in Kuppam is next to impossible.”

“Where is the ‘Jagan wave’ now? Where is the sympathy connected with YSR’s demise now? The sentiment pertaining to the mother-sister campaign (referring to the efforts of Vijayamma and Sharmila) no longer exists now. In 2024, Mr. Naidu will win by a majority of one lakh votes,” observes a senior YSRCP leader now in hibernation.

“As Mr. Bharath, a non-local, is already an MLC, the leadership should think of giving the MLA ticket to another BC leader in the constituency,” says another leader.

‘Not the time to speculate’

Meanwhile, the TDP leaders in Kuppam say they prefer to speak their mind after the 2024 elections.

“Our membership is close to 70,000 in the rural constituency. Kuppam is in the first place, followed by Mangalagiri. Unlike in 2019, we now believe in groundwork. There is still a lot of time to speculate about victory or defeat,” said a senior TDP leader, known for his loyalty to the party since 1982.

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Printable version | Sep 16, 2022 3:29:20 am |