With Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu trying to stitch up a nation-wide alliance of all opposition parties, including the Congress, it will have to play its cards well in the state, given that the public might still hold the Congress responsible for bifurcating the state in 2014. The TDP might also have to bear the consequences of contesting the 2019 assembly polls alongside the grand old party.

A TDP functionary, who did not want to be quoted, said that it was initially difficult for party leaders and cadres to digest Naidu’s decision, but that they don’t disapprove of it. “They also know that TDP will be in danger otherwise. The party wants the cadre to believe that, as of now, the alliance is only for Lok Sabha elections."

In the 2014 assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress was completely routed, and did not manage to win a single seat in the 175-member assembly. The TDP, then in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and supported by Jana Sena chief and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, won 102 seats, with the BJP winning 4. The main opposition, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), won 67 seats. Reddy is the son of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister (late) Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

“Naidu will continue to move at a brisk pace to gather all the opposition parties he can. However, we don’t want to be seen as close to Congress in public because it might have a negative impact on the assembly elections," the TDP functionary added.

On 19 November, Naidu met his West Bengal counterpart and All India Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to seek her support for an anti-BJP coalition. TDP and the Congress are part of a grand alliance to take on Telengana’s caretaker chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

“TDP is still worried about the kind of impact its alliance with Congress will have in Andhra Pradesh, because people still hold Congress responsible for dividing the state. Individual leaders will have to face the wrath on ground, as the cadre will question them about going with the Congress," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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