The reported invitation to Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) and YSR Congress Party leader Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi has left the N. Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh (AP) miffed.
A senior TDP leader, who did not want to be quoted, said that the UPA’s move to reach out to KCR and Jagan, who is the main opposition leader in AP, has not gone down well with his party as Naidu has already been sharing stage with Congress president Rahul Gandhi since since last year to form an anti-BJP coalition. Both of them had even campaigned together in Telangana during the state polls last December, as their parties were in an alliance to take on KCR’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)
“It is an issue for us. I can understand inviting KCR, since technically KCR is from another state and we don’t have much stake in Telangana anymore. But to call Jagan is not acceptable at all. A lot of our senior party leaders are miffed over this move. It is very ambitious of Sonia Gandhi to think that we can work with the YSRCP, they can’t take us for granted," stated the TDP leader.
Naidu’s decision to join hands with the Congress, which he calls a “democratic compulsion", came as a surprise last year in March after the TDP exited the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as the TDP was founded on an anti-Congress sentiment by former AP (joint state) chief minister N. T. Rama Rao in 1982. It was after that that the TDP and Congress contested the Telangana assembly polls together, but it failed, as the two parties won just 2 and 19 out of the total 119 seats.
A senior TRS leader, who did not want to be quoted, had told Mint earlier that chances of KCR leaning towards the UPA are less, given that it has Naidu on its side. Naidu on his part is also on a mission to form an anti-BJP coalition, has been campaigning together with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M. K. Stalin, and others. KCR, who is trying to form a federal front, has so far received support from Jagan Mohan Reddy only.
“The Congress has not decided to go with Jagan, but it wants to ensure that all the parties which are not with NDA or neutral, should come together on one platform. If it does not invite jagan, BJP will ask him to support the NDA," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy. He pointed out that the TRS and the TRS-YSRCP combine are likely to have more seats than the TDP this time. “There is the possibility of the UPA discarding the TDP and roping in the TRS and YSRCP," Reddy added.