After Telangana poll results, TDP looks to anti-incumbency as YSRCP dissects BRS defeat

Both TDP and YSRCP are studying the Telangana election results and related factors ahead of the polls in Andhra Pradesh.

ByBhaskar Basava

Published Dec 14, 2023 | 11:00 AMUpdatedDec 14, 2023 | 11:00 AM

YSRCP chief Jagan, TDP supremo Naidu and JSP chief Pawan Kalyan.

The Congress’s win in neighbouring Telangana has made the TDP pin its hopes on the anti-incumbency factor, even as the YSRCP has been closely scrutinising and analysing the result as both parties prepare for the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections next year.

The YSRCP has not been contesting in Telangana Assembly elections ever since it faced defeat in 2014. Instead, it has been concentrating on Andhra Pradesh.

However, many YSRCP leaders who were closely observing the Telangana elections felt that a BRS victory would have provided a psychological boost for the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh.

The logic is that such a victory would suggest that people were more inclined towards welfare-driven schemes.

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Where BRS went wrong

Dr G Veerraju, the head of the Political Science and Public Administration Department of the Andhra University, told South First that the sentiment against Andhra Pradesh’s ruling party after the Telangana elections was psychological and confined to urban areas.

“It indeed has a moral factor that has put the YSRCP in the hot seat in urban segments,” he said.

But he opined that it would not have a significant impact in rural Andhra Pradesh, where government welfare schemes hold more sway than in the case of Telangana.

The YSRCP is said to be actively preparing for the upcoming elections. According to sources, the party’s advisors have been cautious regarding two factors that led to the BRS’s defeat.

The first was the BRS renominating most of its MLAs for the second time despite the anti-incumbency factor. The second was KCR losing his connect with the people.

“Around 80 percent of the candidates for the Andhra Pradesh elections were finalised two months ago. However, following the Telangana election results, a re-verification has been conducted to avoid potential issues with MLAs facing strong local-level opposition. Approximately 40 such changes are expected to be announced in the coming days,” a YSRCP source told South First.

Another factor that some party members felt is crucial is addressing the perception that Chief Minister and YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy spends more time in his Tadepalle office rather than engaging with the public.

“The key advisors and poll strategists (I-PAC) believe that Jagan participating in mass-contact programmes is necessary for an image makeover and to connect with the public. However, the party leadership has denied it, as it feels Jagan has attended more public meetings than KCR,” the source added.

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TDP & Jana Sena

The TDP, led by N Chandrababu Naidu, distanced itself from the Telangana elections for the first time since its inception in 1982. It is also focusing on Andhra Pradesh.

On the other hand, actor-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena lost deposits in all the eight seats it contested.

Though the Jana Sena’s image has received a beating, political experts felt the defeat may not cause the party much harm in Andhra Pradesh.

Both parties are now banking on the BJP joining forces with them, and the anti-incumbency factor to work in their favour.

“The TDP-Jana Sena combine is banking on people’s disenchantment with the government. But it alone won’t work, as can be observed from the Congress loss in Madhya Pradesh. The party there thought that people’s discontent with the government would secure victory for it,” N Sambasiva Rao of poll-research team People’s Pulse told South First,

“Unlike the Congress in Telangana, which united all small but credible forces like farmers, unemployed-youth associations, and Dalit organisations, this alliance (TDP-Jana Sena) is not playing an active role in turning these groups in its favour, as the manifesto, joint campaigns, and candidates are yet to be finalised,” he added.

“The campaigns that worked for the Congress in Telangana will be replicated in Andhra Pradesh by the TDP-Jana Sena combine. The alliance leadership is confident that Jagan’s arrogance and authoritative decisions, like allowing Naidu to be arrested, will help the party in the upcoming elections,” a TDP source told South First.

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The BJP & Congress 

The BJP has seen an increase in its vote share and seats in Telangana.

However, the Congress and the BJP have little vote share in Andhra Pradesh. The Congress lost its base due to the perception that it carved out Telangana from the united Andhra Pradesh, which went against the majority of the people’s wishes.

Many of its leaders shifted to the YSRCP, a party founded by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Interestingly, all the regional parties in Andhra Pradesh — the YSRCP, the TDP, and the Jana Sena — have expressed a desire to ally with the BJP.

“It is because the business community seeks the support of the BJP, which is in power at the Centre,” Prof Veerraju opined.

The YSRCP appeared to have a soft corner for the BJP. It is noteworthy that the YSRCP has not opposed a single Bill in Parliament since 2019. On the other hand, the TDP and Jana Sena have expressed their desire to fight the polls in alliance with the BJP.

“Notwithstanding the BJP’s non-fulfilment of the promise of special status in lieu of the losses incurred by Andhra Pradesh following bifurcation, political parties remain loyal as the BJP’s support would make a difference at the polls,” the professor added.

However, it is to be seen if the BJP would contest the Andhra Pradesh polls alone, considering the Jana Sena’s debacle in Telangana. It is also to be seen if it takes the TDP on board.

In all likelihood, the YSRCP, which is expected to continue its soft approach towards the BJP, would avoid allying with it, as it could potentially impact minority and Christian votes, which are considered to be Jagan’s strength.