Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu will on Monday begin a review of the crisis his party is facing in Andhra Pradesh in the wake of losing four Rajya Sabha MPs and a few other leaders to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Naidu and his son and TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh will be at the party’s Guntur office for about five hours a day to assess the entire situation and conduct review meetings, a senior TDP leader said.
Naidu and Lokesh were holidaying in Europe when the four Rajya Sabha MPs defected to the BJP earlier this month. The setback came about a month after the TDP was routed in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly and Lok Sabha elections by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), winning just three parliamentary seats out of 25 and 23 Assembly constituencies out of 175.
A few local TDP leaders, including an ex-MLA, have also shifted sides to the BJP.
“We don’t have any solution as of now. In fact, Visakhapatnam north MLA Ganta Srinivas Rao, who is also rumoured to leave, was asked to meet Naidu. We don’t know what happened after that," said the TDP leader mentioned above.
He added that After the TDP’s rout, most party leaders have been attacking Lokesh in private discussions, the leader said.
The leader was, however, confident that the BJP would not be able to take up the opposition space in the state. “The BJP got less than 1%of the vote share and if people think that it will become the main Opposition in the state, that is a joke. The party is using the Centre’s might. The four MPs who have joined the BJP want to safeguard themselves from probes by central agencies," the TDP leader said.
The TDP leader also said that Naidu, who is still not facing any demand to quit, has said that whoever wants to quit can do so. “He won’t ask them to stay. Nobody high profile in terms of political might has quit so far, but we need to assess the situation and see what has to be done. Two party MLAs from Visakhapatnam district and one from East Godavari district have also not been attending party meetings," he said.
Earlier in June on the day the four Rajya Sabha MPs resigned and joined the BJP, 13 former MLAs from the numerical dominant Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh held a meeting to decide their political future.
“The TDP still has got about 40% of the vote bank, which will be with it for some more time. The four Rajya Sabha MPs who joined the BJP won’t help it strengthen from the grassroots level," said E. Venkatesu, a faculty member of the University of Hyderabad’s political science department.
In the future, the fight is likely to be between the YSRCP, TDP and the BJP, Venkatesu said. “Unless there is a lot of dissent against Jagan, there will be no space for the TDP, which has been on a decline because of Naidu’s centralized development model," he said.