While the BJP leadership called the party’s performance in Karnataka elections as its gateway to South India, the results had distinctly different reactions in two neighbouring states.
While in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK leadership welcomed the victory and congratulated the BJP for “bellwethering a grand entry to South India,” there was no such heartwarming gesture from the two regional parties governing Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
While the TRS leadership in Telangana is learnt to have spoken with leaders involved in forging an anti-BJP post-poll alliance in Karnataka, the TDP did not react in any grand manner. Former Union minister and TDP Rajya Sabha member Y S Chowdary told The Indian Express, “I don’t think this (Karnataka results) will have any impact on Andhra Pradesh.” He also dismissed Modi’s role in garnering votes, even as the BJP, buoyed by the gains in Karnataka, took a dig at estranged NDA partner TDP.
“On this cheerful occasion, I wish to express my warm greetings and felicitations for the significant victory of BJP in Karnataka Assembly Elections, bellwethering a grand entry to South India,” Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O Panneerselvam wrote in a letter to BJP president Amit Shah early in the day, before the numbers indicated later in the evening that the party fell just short of the majority mark.
Panneerselvam wrote to PM Narendra Modi, lauding the BJP’s “momentous occasion”. The missives points to AIADMK’s favourable outlook towards the BJP ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls. DMK working president M K Stalin also greeted the BJP and its chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa. Stalin posted on Facebook, “I believe the BJP, which is going to take charge, will not violate Tamil Nadu’s rights on Cauvery as per the Supreme Court order and strive for cordial ties with the neighbouring state.”
BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted that even though the TDP and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu had “used all tactics to dissuade Telugu voters from supporting BJP” in Karnataka polls, in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, where most Telugus live, “BJP has increased its tally from 6 to 20+”. Madhav also said the people rejected Naidu’s politics and BJP’s “southward march has begun”.
Sources in TDP claimed that of 46 constituencies in Karnataka with more than 50,000 Telugu voters each, a significant number had voted for the Congress. But a senior BJP leader in Andhra Pradesh said Naidu’s exit from the NDA was entirely due to the “political trap” laid by YSR Congress party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. “The BJP and TDP are natural allies since TDP is an anti-Congress party. We wanted them to contest 2019 elections with us,” the BJP leader said.
TDP’s Chowdary also did not entirely rule out the possibility of reconciliation between the BJP and the TDP in future. “My only wish is that politics is centered around real issues,” he said.