Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu (PTI file)
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu (PTI file)

Why 2019 polls could bring TDP’s Naidu a new role

  • For the first time in the TDP’s history, the party is on the Congress’ side, with the AP chief minister on a mission to form an anti-BJP alliance
  • N Chandrababu Naidu, looking to play a role at the Centre if the UPA wins, might even vacate the chief minister’s post even if the TDP wins in the state

Hyderabad: For Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, a loss to the main opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the general election could mean he is looking at his last term as chief minister.

Naidu, who hopes to play a role at the Centre if the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) wins, might vacate the chief minister’s post even if TDP wins in AP, said a senior TDP leader. “(His son) Nara Lokesh is being prepared to take over the party. If we lose the state election, but manage to win 12 to 15 Lok Sabha seats (out of 25), Naidu will move to New Delhi," the leader said.

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The 69-year-old chief minister faced a stiff challenge from YSRCP president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who many are placing their bets on this time. Anti-incumbency may work against Naidu too.

Early his year, Naidu launched major welfare schemes for self-help groups, women, farmers and unemployed youth, on which the state government spent over Rs.15,000 crore. The TDP leader said these schemes gave his party the edge.

In the state elections, held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls, Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh contested from the Mangalagiri assembly seat, which is within the Amaravati capital region. Lokesh’s first electoral battle is also a test of whether he can take the reins from his father, who was first elected as an MLA in 1978 in undivided AP. A loss for the TDP is likely to result in some leadership changes within the party.

For the first time in TDP’s history, the party allied with the Congress as Naidu was on a mission to form an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance. A former ally of the BJP, Naidu broke ties after the Central government refused special status to the new state of Andhra Pradesh. He is now a bitter critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Naidu’s time as chief minister might come to an end if the TDP loses. He will continue to focus on AP, while playing a big role at the Centre," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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