Jagan, Pawan and Kapus keep TDP chief on edge

Dara Gopi

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: The year 2017 is all set to be a significant year for political parties, both in the ruling and in the Opposition. The beginning of the year saw tough battles fought by the Opposition parties giving sleepless nights for the ruling party. The Special Category Status (SCS) is all set to be the agenda for Andhra Pradesh electoral battles as the issue could muster support from a cross section of the people in the State.

The SCS, which all the Opposition parties are strongly demanding and the youth is backing it, has the potential to keep the parties together, thus giving tough time for the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Interestingly, the issue is also bringing the Opposition parties together, either to align with the YSR Congress party or with the Jana Sena. Both Jagan Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress and Pawan Kalyan of the Jana Sena are set to be the rallying points for the Opposition and the people, particularly on the SCS.

TDP supremo and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is facing a Kapu challenge in the form of a movement for reservations is set to feel further heat from two youthful leaders.  While the Kapu stir is headed by  former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan are expected to intensify their agitations against the TDP government. While Jagan is already in the midst of the people on one issue or the other, Pawan has given an ultimatum to the TDP on his alliance with the ruling party and its ally BJP.  Both are popular leaders and if they decide to hit the streets, Chandrababu will have difficult time countering the duo.

The TDP is witnessing erosion of its Kapu vote base on Chandrababu Naidu’s 2014 election promise of giving BC status to the community. The BC vote base of the TDP too is experiencing tremors as the BCs are apprehensive of the Kapus taking away major share from them if they are given BC status. This fear is slowly distancing them from the ruling party and they are now positively looking towards Pawan Kalyan.

Ironically, Chandrababu Naidu could not satisfy the Kapus though he had given the Deputy Chief Minister, Deputy Speaker and Director General of Police posts to the community. The Kapu Corporation too had extended financial support to the community, particularly in providing higher education for Kapu students. While these measures have not helped the CM to win back their confidence, none of the Kapu leaders from the TDP is able to match the leadership of Mudragada Padmanabham. This worries Chandrababu Naidu a lot who is forced to take on the former minister on Kapu agitation and counter Mudragada’s allegations.

Meanwhile, the Opposition parties are gearing up to align with Jagan Mohan Reddy and Pawan Kalyan. The CPI-M has already given enough indications of aligning with Jagan, while the CPI is slowly moving closer to Pawan. The Congress is anxiously waiting for an olive branch from the YSR Congress. While fighting its own battle for the SCS, the Congress is desperately looking for alliance with Jagan Mohan Reddy as the votes now held by the YSR Congress are basically from its own kitty. The Congress, by aligning with Jagan Mohan Reddy, wants to take its due share from its traditional vote bank and thus beat Chandrababu Naidu.

As the Opposition parties gear up for intensive political fight, Chandrababu Naidu is is also feeling the heat from within the TDP due to squabbles among the leaders in every district. The political rivalry among the TDP leaders is a big headache for Chandrababu Naidu and setting his own house in order is an arduous task for him.

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