The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andha Pradesh (AP) has begun an online campaign against YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) supremo Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, after he expressed support for Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s federal front last week. The campaign portrays him as someone who betrayed “Andhra Pride" for joining hands with Rao.
TDP leaders said since Rao spearheaded Telangana’s separate statehood movement, people in Andhra particularly dislike him. “We will use the same tactic KCR (as Rao is known) used against N. Chandrababu Naidu in the recent Telangana assembly polls, where he constantly rhetorically asked the public if they want to put their state in the hands of Andhra rulers again," said a senior TDP leader, who did not want to be identified.
The TDP leader informed that a small team will handle the campaign till the Lok Sabha elections. “We should actually thank KCR for being audacious enough to try and say that he will enter AP and for joining hands with Jagan," he remarked and added that his party will try and recreate a 2014-like atmosphere in the state, similar to when AP and Telangana were bifurcated.
At that point of time, however, public anger in AP was completely directed towards the Congress which was deserted by many of its leaders, who joined the YSRCP. As a result, the grand old party could not win even a single assembly or Lok Sabha seat. The TDP had then won the state elections in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which was supported by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan of the Jana Sena Party (JSP) as well.
As a result, the TDP won 102 seats, the YSRCP 67 and BJP 4 in the 175-member assembly. Later, more than 20 MLAs from the YSRCP defected to the TDP as well, and in March last year, the TDP and BJP ended their alliance.
Though the YSRCP has not declared yet that it is officially joining KCR’s federal front, Reddy last week held a joint press conference with TRS working president and KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao, declaring his support for the idea. It was the first time that a regional party’s leader had done so, especially since KCR met several leaders from across the country since last year to create a non-BJP, non-Congress front. KCR’s attempts to do so have grown stronger since the December state polls, in which TRS won 88 of the 119 assembly seats.