Friday, March 16, 2018

Time will tell: Chandrababu Naidu says 'Namaskaram' to BJP-led NDA

Naidu may be back in national politics, but has to make sacrifice yet again

In the 1990s, N Chandrababu was said to have rejected the offer of Prime Ministership as his teenager son Nara Lokesh told him it would have been a "temporary job.' 

Naidu takes SECULAR bus yet again

Two decades later, he is back into the whirlpool of national politics of coalition.Within hours of his exit from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, Mr Naidu was not only among headlined but he also found "friendship tele calls" and favourable tweets from Mamata Banerjee and other regional players.In fact, the All India Trinamool Congress supremo and Bengal Chief Minister was among the first to "welcome" Mr Naidu's decision. She tweeted, "All political parties in the opposition (should) work closely together against atrocities, economic calamity and political instability.'

There have been active back channel communications between the Telegu Desam Party and Trinamool leaders. Stalwarts from the Mamata Banerjee-led party insisted that TDP's walking out of NDA was only a matter of time.

But Mr Naidu's emergence on the national scene also brings in other issues on the table. It raises questions whether the likes of Ms Banerjee will allow Mr Naidu to play a 'larger than life role' to cobble together a front of regional parties. Or vice versa whether Mr Naidu will agree to play second fiddle to the likes of the fiery Trinamool chief or the Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav.
"We all know our leader Mr Naidu had played a key role in 1990s during the United Progressive Alliance regime. He had the essential chemistry with various leaders to stitch together the alliance and showed how can someone make sacrifice for unity among regional parties," a TDP source said on condition of anonymity.

The TDP supremo, sources said, can yet again play an important role to forge unity among regional players and fight the "hegemony of the BJP.'

The sources also said that Mr Naidu, once called CEO of united Andhra Pradesh may be an emerging favourite of corporate players - where Mamata Banerjee or Mayawati will not fit well.
TDP leaders maintain that ties between the BJP and the Andhra-based party had started deteriorating even in 2016 - when the saffron party "saw a void in opposition space in Andhra" against TDP as both Indian National Congress and Yuvajan Shramik Ryuthu Congress Party had fallen from grace.
"This was the time, our leader had cautioned party workers not to fall in the trap of confrontation with the Modi government over 'special category' status," one leader said, suggesting that the TDP-BJP break up apparently gives Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party mileage.
In fact, in May 2016, at the annual convention 'Mahanadu' of the TDP at the temple city Tirupati, sources said, one could not miss the mood of grassroots party activists

It was largely anti-Centre but Mr Naidu was realistic and tried to drive home the point that negative vibes would not gel."We were going slow, we kept on submitting memorandums to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but things did not improve and moreover at the state levels, BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh leaders often slammed our Chief Minister," the sources said.
K. Ramamohan Rao, a senior party leader, had said in 2016 that the TDP did not like to behave "like a complaining partner in the BJP-led NDA.' Apparently the indication was, TDP would continue with the BJP-led Centre and seek central assistance for the backward regions of coastal north Andhra and Rayalseema.

TDP sources said way back in 2016, the BJP circulated a document asserting vast funds were provided to the 'bifurcated state.'It affirmed that the Centre had released Rs 2,304 crore in 2014-15 and later Rs 500 crore. The document also stated that the Modi-led regime had allocated Rs 7,430 crore as part of Rs 22,113 crore deficit that the 14th Finance Commission projected for the 2015-20 period.

Ties went downhill from January 2018 and at one point of time - Mr Naidu said: "If they don't want us, we will do 'namaskaram' and chart our own course.' 

(copy used by UNI)

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