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Why TDP can't break away from BJP

By Surya Desaraju
March 12, 2018 09:56 IST
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The TDP has many formidable challenges in the state leading to the 2019 general elections, many of which it cannot surmount without help from the Modi government.

Withdrawing its two members from the Union council of ministers this week may be the easiest thing the Telugu Desam Party could do, but it just cannot wish the Bharatiya Janata Party away.

As a BJP leader from New Delhi puts it: "It's a grudging reality that the two parties need each other, more so the TDP."


In the 2014 elections to the Andhra Pradesh assembly, the BJP polled over 2.4 per cent votes, almost the equal percentage that helped the TDP pip the main opposition YSR Congress to the post.

This simple arithmetic apart, the TDP has many formidable challenges in the state leading to the 2019 general elections, many of which it cannot surmount without help from the Narendra Modi government.

Merely throwing the entire blame at the centre's doorstep for many of its own failures will not help the TDP, says the state BJP.

"It is clear that the TDP is blaming us only to mask its failures in fulfilling the promises made in 2014," state BJP spokesperson S Vishnuvardhan Reddy said.

"The TDP failed in providing debt relief to farmers, paying unemployment allowance to the youth...some of the many promises it made ahead of the 2014 elections. Hence, it is now enacting a new drama in the name of special category status," Reddy said.

Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, the state finance minister, however, rejected the charge, saying it was "not correct".

"We have been trying for certain things. The Centre has given us something, but it has not fulfilled the promises 100 per cent," he said.

Asked how he saw things moving forward vis-à-vis the BJP, the TDP politburo member said, "We are watching national politics. We are still in alliance."

The blame game and political posturing aside, the TDP desperately needs the centre's help to fulfil one of its key promises: Of providing five-percent reservation to the Kapu community and its sub-sects.

The government hurriedly passed a bill in the assembly last December, but it cannot become law unless the centre makes a constitutional amendment, enabling an increase in the quota over and above the stipulated 50 per cent.

That the Kapu vote was a key factor in Chandrababu Naidu's return to power in 2014 is an acknowledged fact, as the TDP virtually swept the two Godavari districts, thanks to the en masse support it secured from the predominant community.

During his forceful demand in the assembly last Wednesday for special category status to the state, Chandrababu Naidu did not miss this point when he asked the centre to clear the bill.

Giving a clear shape to the Polavaram multipurpose project, if not completing it ahead of the 2019 elections (as per revised deadline), is another challenge, while building at least a part (government city) of the state's new capital Amaravati is yet the critical one.

The state government cannot accomplish these tasks without the centre's help.

"There is talk that I will push the entire blame on the centre for not being able to do anything. I will not do that. I will not push the burden on the Centre," Naidu announced in the assembly the other day, amidst the heat on the SCS demand.

As is his wont, Chandrababu wound not leave it at that.

Photograph: PTI Photo

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Surya Desaraju
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