TDP Telangana lobby in doldrums
The Telangana lobby in the Telugu Desam Party is in an acute embarrassing situation after the declaration of the results of the by-elections.
Though they are in the TD, they can’t be happy at the party’s good show in the polls since that would mean giving up their pet theme for the time being. Neither can they express joy at the defeat of the rival Telangana Rashtra Samithi, for similar reasons.
Though it was the TRS which got the drubbing from the voters, it is the Telangana lobby in the TD which felt the slap. They were so despondent that they did not even muster enough courage to participate in the victory celebrations at NTR Bhavan.
Like warriors who suddenly find their quivers empty, they sulked and left the battlefield. Ironically, it took the voters of Telangana to exorcise the specter of a separate state which has been haunting the TD chief, N. Chandrababu Naidu for sometime. The mandate against the TRS has made it clear that a majority of voters are still in favour of united Andhra Pradesh, relieving Naidu of a major burden.
In fact, the elections have left Naidu looking fresh and good. He did not submit to pressure over Telangana from senior leaders including T. Devendar Goud even at the height of electioneering. He did say that he was not against Telangana, but always hastened to add that N.T. Rama Rao had formed the TD for the unity and self-respect of all Telugu-speaking people. The whole world loves a winner and now everyone is singing paeans to Naidu’s political instincts.
This will also give him room to wield the whip on the T-lobby, albeit gently. For instance, we can safely speculate that the ensuing Mahanadu of the TD will talk only about development of the state and the corruption of the Congress government. Nobody would dare talk of a separate state.
If the initial reaction of Devendar Goud, is any indication, the T-lobby will opt to keep quite. If they had any doubts, Naidu has indicated his stance to them by making his confidante and newly-elected MLA, Mr Talasani Srinivas Yadav, declare that he won on united Andhra Pradesh plank and not on Telangana stand. He addressed the press at NTR Bhavan and everyone knows that this needs the approval of the party supremo. Srinivas Yadav is a bete noire of Devendar Goud and his statement makes it clear that Naidu will no longer tolerate any talk of a separate state.
Feedback from the field has further depressed the T-lobby. It seems that those who wrote pro-Telangana graffiti on walls during by-poll campaign lost, while those who took a moderate stand romped home. C. Narsi Reddy, who contested from Dommata, made Telangana an issue in his campaign but could not win over the voters. Srinivas Yadav did not speak of Telangana even once but won. E. Dayakar Rao, who won from Warangal Lok Sabha, is a known supporter of Telangana. But he campaigned on the development plank.
Ultimately, the TDP seems to be relieved of the burden of taking a specific stand on the Telangana issue. Naidu must be happy at the travails of the dissident TDP lobby that harped on Telangana Sentiment, more to embarrass Naidu than any true love for the cause of Telanganites.