After breaking the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party and getting ready for the next round of elections in June 2019, Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu is having big plans on his hand. While the fact remains that he has no political party to align for the next election, he is currently working on bringing in some north Indian parties to stand by him.
Naidu had met former minister and Rastriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh the other day and had a long chat with him on the national political scenario. Last week, Naidu had closeted with his Karnataka counterpart and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumarswamy. While playing a key role in the national politics after the 2019 elections and blocking Narendra Modi from coming back to the Prime Minister’s Office for a second term are his priorities, Chandrababu Naidu is more interested in fighting his own battle in the home turf. It is for this reason, he is looking at every political party from the northern states that has some roots in Andhra Pradesh.
Ajit Singh has some considerable following in Andhra Pradesh particularly among the farmers as his father Charan Singh was popular farmers’ leader. There are still several leaders in the State who have some liking for Ajit Singh and Chandrababu Naidu wants to take advantage of this to split the Opposition votes.
The TDP chief had already sent feelers to the BSP of Mayawati and SP of Akhilesh Yadav to contest the 2019 AP elections. While Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party are set to take some portion of the BC votes from the Opposition, the Mayawati’s BSP factor has the potential to eat into the Scheduled Castes votes. There are strong supporters of the BSP and people across the State are well aware of the party’s election symbol, thanks to the popularity it had gained in 1994 elections with Kanshi Ram making some unsuccessful moves with the local Dalit leaders.
Chandrababu Naidu believes that the presence of these parties in the election would bring down the votes of the Opposition, which would help him retain his votes. He is even prepared to give candidates and financial support for these parties if they pitch in. As there is nothing for them to lose, these parties have initially accepted Chandrababu Naidu’s invitation and are getting ready. The BSP is likely to change its State unit president in the next couple of weeks and would have the new face, mostly preferred by Chandrababu Naidu.
It is to be seen how this new strategy would help Chandrababu Naidu in splitting the Opposition vote bank.