On 28 May, Vijayawada MP K Srinivas (also referred to as Kesineni Nani) posted on his Facebook photographs of his meeting with Nitin Gadkari. It was natural for eyebrows to go up since Nani is one of the three Telugu Desam MPs to be elected from Andhra Pradesh.
“Met and took the blessings of Mr Nitin Gadkari, my favorite politician. He is the one who has given his 100 % support to me in the development of Vijayawada in the last five years,” wrote Nani.
While Nani has spoken only about the development projects in his constituency, there are many others in the TDP who are now on the lookout for a safer political home. The one training their political binoculars are those with business interests as they fear their TDP colour will make them an easy target for Income Tax raids. Already in the run-up to the elections, politicians of the ruling party found their associates raided. TDP leaders know the BJP will now be more than keen to hurt Naidu and therefore do not wish to be caught in the crossfire.
The BJP too would like to encourage the impression that the TDP ship has sunk. It also helps the saffron party, that polled less than NOTA in most constituencies to build its base with the constituency or district-level support structure that will come along with these TDP leaders.
The BJP in the last five years had attracted talent from the Congress like former Union minister D Purandareswari (NTR’s daughter) and former Andhra minister Kanna Lakshmi Narayana, now appointed BJP Andhra unit chief.
Among the TDP names being mentioned in political circles are those of the powerful JC brothers from Anantapur – Diwakar Reddy and Prabhakar Reddy. Both did not contest this time and instead passed on the baton to their sons. Both Pavan Reddy and Asmith Reddy could not withstand the Jagan wave and lost. The family has business interests in the state. The Reddy brothers were part of the Congress for decades and moved to the TDP only in 2014.
C Adinarayana Reddy from Kadapa is another name who could be shifting parties again. He was elected on a YSRCP ticket in 2014 but migrated to the TDP and was made a minister. This Chemistry teacher lost the Lok Sabha election on the TDP symbol this time and could be working out an equation with the BJP.
Another name on the BJP radar is reported to be TDP Rajya Sabha MP TG Venkatesh, who is a prominent industrialist of Kurnool. His son TG Bharath lost the election from Kurnool assembly constituency this time. Venkatesh also has been part of the Congress and was a minister in the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.
For many of the TDP leaders especially those who are MPs or MLAs, the YSRCP is not an option. That is because Jagan with 151 MLAs behind him, has not shown any interest in admitting anyone into the party now. Two, his condition is that the TDP lawmaker should resign his seat instead of merely crossing over. Jagan had protested against Naidu admitting 23 of YSRCP MLAs when TDP was in power and he does not wish to do the same now that the shoe is on the other foot.
The BJP does not expect Naidu to be able to hold his party together if an onslaught is mounted on its key leaders and funders. If the TDP is dismantled, it will help the BJP move into the opposition space in Andhra given that the Congress is still in a comatose state.
Categories: Political Pickle