There are certain nagging questions about TDP (including the title of this article) that haunt political analysts: Why NTR family members are so important for Naidu? Can the TDP get its old glory?
NTR dethroned three decades plus old Congress regime in the state of Andhra Pradesh in his ninth month of political life in 1983. That was a historic record. To achieve this, he had not led any social or political movement highlighting the inability of congress regime to rule properly.
He, however, used his filmy glamour, raised the slogan of the self respect of Telugu people and offered a few popular sops to accomplish the task and formed the first non-Congress government in the state.
As the TDP had not led any agitations to achieve political power, no ideological cadres had developed in TDP as in the case of the Left parties and the BJP. It is of significance that irrespective of political power or otherwise, the Left parties and the BJP enjoy strong cadre support owing to their political engagements i.e. the land struggles of the Left parties and BJP with its Hindutva ideology and agenda.
The only cadre the TDP had in its initial days was the huge fan following of NTR meticulously built up during his filmy days. NTR too duly gave recognition to this fan club base and accorded priority in ticket allocation to fans such as Ramesh Reddy of Nellore and Sripathi Rajeswar of Hyderabad. A few more of his fan association members were also given tickets who served as TDP party cadre until the sad demise of NTR.
After his death, NTR fans and admirers movesd away from the party and converted themselves as neutral voters. N Chandrababu Naidu’s policy of implementing liberal economic policies provoked rival politician YSR, who copied the policies of NTR and endeared himself to the socially and economically marginalized groups.
Naidu who came to power through the back door carries no personnel charisma. He is always naturally afraid of being back stabbed and never allowed anybody to rise in the party. Today nobody is there in TDP who can lead the party in the district unlike YSR who allowed all his ministerial colleagues to have a say in the district affairs to take care of the needs of the cadre.
Another major reason for the collapse of the Naidu leadership is his excessive dependence on Ramoji. During the TDP regime, Ramoji is the uncrowned king and the public dubbed him as the Rajguru. Once the Congress regained power, YSR systematically destroyed the clean image of Ramoji and the public started looking at Eenadu as a TDP daily and distrusting its news stories.
These are some of the sociological reasons why the TDP collapsed after 2004. Now Naidu is bent upon getting NTR family member to canvass for the party to garner the huge NTR fan base back into the party fold. He is also announcing popular schemes of NTR that can attract marginal groups. He is now allied with the Left parties and the TRS to increase the strength of the party.
May 16, the day the voting is counted will finally unravel the truth.
G L N Reddy