Still recovering from its huge defeat at the hands of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the Telugu Desam party (TDP) has finally began contemplating into its electoral loss in the recently concluded Lok Sabha and assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh (AP). Senior party leaders said that while internal meetings for organizational changes may still take time to begin, open review meetings with state level leaders have begun.
A senior TDP leader, who did not want to be identified, said that Nara Lokesh, TDP general secretary and son of party supremo N. Chandrababu Babu Naidu, may undertake a tour in the state from July onwards. He however added that a plan on that front is yet to be finalized. “Basically we did lose a chunk of the backward classes (BC) vote share, which is supposed to be the backbone of the TDP,” he stated.
In the 2019 elections, the TDP, registering one of its worst performances, won just three parliamentary seats out of 25 and 23 assembly constituencies out of 175. YSRCP, led by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, stormed to power scripting a historic win. While new entrant Jana Sena Party (JSP), led by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, eroded TDP’s vote share a little (believed to be around 3-5%) by splitting the votes of the Kapu community (to which Kalyan belongs), anti-incumbency against Naidu also led to the colossal loss.
“The TDP should have known by now what went wrong. Naidu in 2015 or 2016 should have started with the premise that he is losing in 2019 and should have begun worked backwards (to try and prevent it). YSRCP chief (and AP chief minister) Jagan Mohan Reddy stood his ground then. The TDP should have preempted its downfall in that situation, but Naidu, who claims to be the most experienced politician, did not forsee the situation and failed to accept that he can be defeated,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
Reddy added that the TDP breaking ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the JSP (it had an alliance with both in the 2014 assembly and Lok Sabha polls in AP) going separately were two factors which were overlooked by the TDP. “Both those parties helped TDP win in 2014, and all three together had a vote share of just 2% more than the YSRCP,” he noted.