Andhra Pradesh

Decoding Chandrababu Naidu’s Palnadu narrative

Chandrababu Naidu is using the same template he used when YS Rajasekhara Reddy was in power between 2004 and 2009 to corner the Jaganmohan Reddy government. Which is to label the rulers as factionists. That time, Naidu focused on Rayalaseema and Kadapa in particular, this time Naidu is looking at Palnadu region. 

Naidu’s gameplan is to say violence has been unleashed against the TDP by the YSRCP. The intention is to project himself and his party cadre as the victims and use the social media space to build up this narrative. In the complex world of factionalism in Rayalaseema and Palnadu, which is both personal and political, the grey is being exploited by Naidu.

Naidu has always derided Jagan, his family and his party by saying voting for them would bring rowdy raj to Andhra Pradesh. That narrative is now being put into action.

But Naidu making it appear that his party is clean while YSRCP is full of factionists is not true. Just a few days ago, he put out a message on Paritala Ravi’s birth anniversary, praising him as a people’s leader, completely ignoring the Anantapur strongman’s violent past and engaging in faction violence. Similarly, in Palnadu region the likes of former Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao and Gurazala MLA Y Srinivasa Rao controlled every activity when the TDP was in power and all opposition to them was muzzled.

Chandrababu Naidu (inside vehicle) put under house arrest by police

But Naidu sees only black in the YSRCP and white in the TDP. He still has not realised why the TDP faced a whitewash in the Palnadu region in the Assembly elections this summer. It was a vote against the oppression unleashed by leaders encouraged by Naidu.

It is also a bit strange that no TDP leader from Palnadu was at the forefront when the entire focus was on the region. Instead leaders like Akhila Priya from Kurnool, Kesineni Nani from Vijayawada and Atcham Naidu from Srikakulam were the faces of the protest. Is Naidu’s bid to save some of the TDP leaders from Palnadu who are facing the heat from the law enforcement agencies? Cases have been slapped against both Kodela and Srinivasa Rao in the last three months.

The other attempt by Naidu by going full throttle on the social media is to energise the TDP cadre, demotivated by the humiliating loss in the elections. By doing this, he is trying to guard against attempts by the BJP to occupy the opposition space in Andhra Pradesh and send a message to the people at large that he is still a force to reckon with.

The Andhra Pradesh police extending Naidu’s house arrest by 24 hours will be used by the TDP chief to say the opposition is being muzzled by the YSRCP regime. It is for Jagan now to think how to counter Naidu’s narrative.

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