The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) suffered a setback on Wednesday with TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao’s grandson Hitesh Daggubati and sitting member of legislative assembly (MLA) Amanchi Krishna Mohan joining the main opposition, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh.
This comes just 10 days after TDP MPs P. Ravindra Babu and Avinthi Srinivas, representing the Amalapuram and Anakapalli Lok Sabha seats, respectively, quit the party to join the YSRCP led by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Daggubati is the son of former Congress MLA Venkateshwar Rao, who has long-standing differences with TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. His mother and former Union minister Daggubati Purandeswari, is one of NTR’s daughters. She quit the Congress after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to join the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP).
Venkateshwar Rao and Naidu never got along, according to a senior TDP leader who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This move was thus not a surprise," he said.
The TDP is expecting more legislators to defect, more so as the party is likely to replace about 30% of its MLAs in the upcoming assembly elections, said the leader quoted above.
“Hitesh joining the YSRCP clearly shows what we have been saying: the party has a nexus with the BJP, given that Purandeswari is with it," he said.
The TDP is likely to contest the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections on its own.
It had parted ways with the BJP, its pre-poll ally in the 2014 general elections, in March 2018. It has also lost the support of the Jana Sena Party, led by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan. Naidu is among the leaders trying to stitch up an anti-BJP national alliance, but he is not likely to tie up with the Congress in the state.