The inevitable has happened. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP)’s final parting of ways with the Bharatiya-Janata Party-led NDA was expected the day party chief N Chandrababu Naidu ordered his ministers to quit the Union cabinet. The Andhra strongman, who has been licking his wounds ever since his state was ignored in the Union budget, has decided to go into attack mode with a no-confidence motion to be moved on Monday against the Union council of ministers. TDP MP Thota Narasimhan Naidu has already written to the Lok Sabha secretary general. Naidu, who said that the pullout decision was taken following a teleconference with the party’s politburo members on Friday, was categorical on why the TDP left the NDA fold — according to him, the NDA’s failure to fulfil promises made in the State Reorganisation Act was the reason behind the decision. In other words, the Union government did not honour its commitment to make funds available for the new Andhra Pradesh capital, among other demands. These are important issues in regional politics and Naidu could not have ignored the fact that his demands had been overlooked by the Union government and was perhaps right in interpreting it as a political snub. The accompanying discourse that the BJP was aiming to contest the next general elections without allies — to make for an ‘ally-mukt BJP’ — did not help efforts to keep the TDP within the alliance. The issue was evidently too important for political parties in the state to stay aloof from. This is the reason why the TDP and rival YSR Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy are on the same page, at least for the time being. A day earlier, the TDP had said it would support a no-confidence motion against the government that had been moved by the YSR Congress. On Friday, as the TDP said it would move its own no-confidence motion, Jagan Mohan Reddy said, that the interests of Andhra Pradesh and its people were paramount and “above any political upmanship” and, therefore, it was immaterial whose no-confidence motion was taken up. True, political considerations are a big factor in taking up the ‘special status’ issue for Andhra Pradesh. The moot point is this has traction with the electorate as well. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the politics of the south where the BJP intends to be a major player. On the one hand, the TDP, YSR Congress and Congress will make an effort to corner the BJP and prevent it from expanding its base as a major political formation in the region. On the other, a large section of the Sangh parivar has always preferred that the BJP go solo to gain mass appeal in the state. According to this section, the alliance with the TDP had restricted its prospects for political expansion. TDP’s pullout is likely to hasten the realignment of anti-BJP forces at the national level. If bitter opponents like BSP and Samajwadi Party can be on the same side, there is no reason why the bitter rivals in Andhra Pradesh cannot join hands. This means, the BJP will have a tough task on hand in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections given the pick up in momentum for reunification of anti-BJP opposition forces. Also, other key NDA allies may seek a bigger pound of flesh to stay put in the BJP-led conglomeration. The development in Andhra Pradesh and the consequent political realignment could well cast a shadow on the elections in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where the BJP has a major stake. It would be interesting to see whether that happens.
Published : Mar 17, 2018, 1:55 am IST | Updated : Mar 17, 2018, 1:55 am IST ,