Andhra Pradesh may see major political developments in 2018

Hyderabad: If politics is all about uncertainties with the ifs and buts and results in making strange bedfellows, Andhra Pradesh might see all that in 2018.
There was yet to emerge a clarity among political players like Telugu Desam, YSRCP, BJP and actor Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena. Signs have started that there are two sections in state BJP — one wants to continue ties with TDP and also with Jana Sena and the other wants a deal with YSRCP which they think “can be generous” in allocating more Lok Sabha seats to it.
Pawan Kalyan has so far not decided on who he should sail with in the coming polls or simply go alone. But TDP cadres appeared confident that he would be closer to them since he had no organizational setup yet and commanded clout among youth cutting across political affiliations. It was significant to note that Pawan Kalyan had not been critical of TDP.
But all depended on the moves of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. There was noticeable change in Naidu who has turned less vociferous compared to the 1995-2014 period. He had realized that it was a different ball game with BJP duo Modi-Amit Shah and was treading cautiously.
But Naidu scripted a plan to see the TD came to power again with more number of seats. His confidence levels went up in 2017 with a win in the Nandyal Assembly by-election, besides winning the Kakinada civic body polls. He had said earlier that in the 2014 elections Muslims had not voted for the TDP as it had an alliance with BJP and all voted for the YSRCP. But the trend reversed in Nandyal bypoll and he said Muslims and other minorities had started looking to the TD for its ‘secular’ credentials despite the alliance with BJP. But he still was dependent on the Centre for many things like reconstruction of Andhra Pradesh that was bifurcated and it was forced to tackle the issue of mobilizing funds to take up projects before the next elections.
A shrewd politician that Naidu is, he would always try to get a feel of the people’s pulse by conducting periodical surveys by private agencies and go according to the ‘prevailing mood’. This would be decisive in continuing the alliance with the BJP or going with Pawan Kalyan.
Since inception the TD had never gone to the polls alone. It now would have to choose either of them as tie-up with arch rivals YSRCP and Congress was not possible.
The BJP, a part of the state government, had not made any significant effort either to continue the alliance or go it alone. While TD leaders continue to say the Mr Reddy’s future was bleak and he could be jailed again, no BJP leader criticized YSRCP or its leader.
The elevation of M. Venkaiah Naidu as Vice- President further widened the gap between the BJP central leadership and TD leaders. A meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Reddy also did not go down well with the TD.
From the YSRCP point, it was a do-or-die battle. It was set to complete a decade soon since inception and it had not tasted power. The defection of more than 30 of its legislators to the TDP did cause big damage. Losing Nandyal with a heavy margin to the TD was another setback.
Reddy was undertaking a Praja Sankalpa Yatra which would go on till mid-2018 and its impact was yet to be assessed.

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