TDP chooses not to contest Telangana Assembly elections. Who will benefit in this scenario?

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu conveyed the decision to Telangana unit president Kasani Gnaneshwar when the latter called on him on 28 October.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 29, 2023 | 6:10 PM Updated Oct 29, 2023 | 6:12 PM

File photo of Telangana TDP chief Kasani Gnaneshwar.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will not contest the Telangana Assembly elections on 30 November. A decision to this effect has been taken by party chief supremo N Chandrababu Naidu.

The decision was conveyed to Telangana TDP president Kasani Gnaneshwar when the latter called on Naidu during mulaqat hours at the Rajamahendravaram Central Prison on Saturday, 28 October. He, in turn, conveyed it to the party cadres in Hyderabad on Sunday, 29 October.

However, the party cadres and leaders insisted that the TDP should be in the fray. He told them that he would bring their opinion to the notice of the party chief.

When Gnaneshwar met Naidu in the Rajamahendravaram prison, the latter told him that under the present circumstances, it might be difficult for the party to focus attention on the Telangana election.

He reportedly asked Gnaneshwar to explain to the TDP leaders in Telangana why the party was keeping away from the elections.

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The poll equation

The TDP’s decision to give the Telangana elections a miss lifted the ambiguity over whether the Jana Sena, which is a part of the NDA, would strike an alliance with the TDP and whether the BJP would consent to it as the TDP is not a part of the NDA.

Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan held talks with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on 25 October on the sharing of Assembly seats in Telangana as part of their alliance.

A formal understanding between the BJP and the Jana Sena to fight the Telangana Assembly elections together was reached when a delegation — comprising Telangana BJP president G Kishan Reddy and BJP OBC Morcha president K Laxman — called on him at his residence in Hyderabad on 18 October.

The Jana Sena, which did not appear serious about fighting the Assembly elections in Telangana, began showing some interest after that.

There had been a cloud of uncertainty hovering for quite some time now over whether the TDP would contest the Telangana elections.

Recently, Gnaneshwar, announced that the party would contest 87 seats. However, with no further follow-up action, doubts began lingering in the minds of the party leaders and activists.

Related: Why Naidu arrest may not fuel TDP resurgence in Telangana

Who benefits?

Now that the TDP is not in the fray in Telangana, the situation becomes dicey for the BRS and the BJP-Jana Sena in constituencies in and around Hyderabad, Nalgonda, and Khammam.

As Andhra voters suspect that the YSRCP government would not have arrested Naidu without the blessings of the BJP, it remains to be seen if they support the BJP.

The decision of the TDP to stay away from the elections might come as a godsend to the Congress: In the absence of the TDP, the BJP being suspected of allowing the arrest of Naidu, and AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy being considered a good friend of his Tamil Nadu counterpart and BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao, the only option left for Andhra voters — including the kammas — would be the Congress.

Then again, the Congress in Telangana is headed by A Revanth Reddy, who is originally from the Telugu Desam stock and, by his own admission, a protege of Chandrababu Naidu.