In order to assess where his party stands and take some course correction measures, Telugu Desam Party supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu is currently on a long tour across Andhra Pradesh to take stock of his party district wise. Naidu, who reached Kurnool on Monday, will travel across AP until the end of December.
The TDP supremo has undertaken the major task of reviewing parliamentary and assembly seats in view of the defeat handed to Naidu by the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly elections. Of the 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats, the TDP managed to win just 23 and three seats, registering one of its worst ever performances in its history.
“We had taken up a state-level meeting to discuss what had happened, but this time Naidu is specifically going to every district to understand what happened in each seat. He will even look into small details as to why we lost seats specifically, and to also fill-in gaps wherever the TDP lost by small margins," said a senior TDP leader who did not want to be quoted.
He added that local (rural) and urban body polls are due in elections, wherein the TDP is looking to bounce back in AP. “The elections are already due, as the term of the local elected bodies ended in 2018 itself. We are also preparing for that," said the TDP leader.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the YSRCP won a staggering 22 and 151 seats in AP, after which YSR Congress Party president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy became the chief minister. Since then, the TDP has claimed that many of its workers have been arrested by the AP police for criticizing the YSRCP online and for being critical of the AP government. The YSRCP has however denied the charge.
“As of now, the TDP is in its weakest position, or the second place in terms of vote and seat sharing. Naidu wants to prove that the TDP in AP still exists, unlike in Telangana where it has disappeared. In AP, there are two challenges for the TDP mainly. First is to retain the 40% vote share it got in the 2019 assembly elections. Retaining its cadre is the other thing Naidu has to ensure as well," said Prof. E. Venkatesu, a faculty member from the University of Hyderabad’s political science department.
Prof. Venkatesu added that overcoming those two challenges are a big task for Naidu, for whom reviewing seats in nothing new. “Right now, he needs to protect his party and ensure that it stays like the main opposition party in the state," he opined. Another analyst, who did not want to be quoted, also said that while Jagan Mohan has been receiving praise for his welfare schemes, he is also trying to create a legacy too soon.