Indian Express

The new Andhra politics

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Party to party

Daggubati Puranderaswari, former union minister, has quit the Congress to join the BJP. If the BJP fields her in Visakhapatnam, it would lead to a wide open contest with Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSRCP, N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP and the Congress in the coastal city.

Former Andhra ministers T G Venkatesh, E Pratap Reddy, and G Srinivasa Rao have joined the TDP. Venkatesh, the Kurnool heavyweight, and other Congress rebels may upset the calculations of both the YSR Congress Party and the Congress.

A number of MLAs who were with K Chiranjeevi’s PRP, since merged with the Congress, too are lining up to join the TDP. And from the TDP side, many MLAs of Telangana are shifting loyalties to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.

Alliances

TDP sources say they are hoping for a tie-up with the BJP while the Congress is desperately hoping the TRS will agree to a seat-sharing arrangement. TRS alliance committee chairman K Keshava Rao, however, said this weekend they have no interest in immediate alliances with anyone: “Maybe post-poll but nothing now.”

New parties

N Kiran Kumar Reddy, former CM, launched his Jai Samaikya Andhra Party Monday.

Share Microfin managing director Udaiy Kumar launched the Indian Christian Secular Party last month, while B V Ramarao, convener of the Jai Andhra United Front, is launching a party of the same name.

K Pawan Kalyan, Chiranjeevi’s brother, is lobbying with those interested in the hope of launching a party on the lines of the PRP. His plans have reportedly caused a rift between his elder brother and Pawan Kalyan, referred to as “power star” in the film industry.

Old players

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is eyeing constituencies outside Hyderabad and is planning to field candidates in Rayalaseema and Telangana districts with sizeable Muslim populations.

The BJP will campaign in Telangana on the plank that it was its support that got the Telangana Bill passed. In Seemandhra, the party is waiting for Narendra Modi’s visit before decising whether to field candidates.

The YSRCP will pitch candidates in both regions. Though the party was against bifurcation and it has happened, Jaganmohan feels people in both regions still remember the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s pro-poor schemes, and would want a similar government. “A meeting of the district conveners under the chairmanship of Jaganmohan and honourary president Y S Vijaymma and chalked out the programme to face the multiple elections (Lok Sabha, assembly, municipal, mandal parishad, zilla parishad),” party leader Konatala Ramakrishna said.

Assessment

Political analyst T Ravi expects the new parties will not perform well but, he adds, “There is a chance that the new parties and rebels will break votes. There will be slender-margin wins or losses.” Many expect Kiran Reddy’s party to dent the YSR Congress’s prospects.

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