Hyderabad, April 11 (IANS) With the polling in the bitterly fought elections in Andhra Pradesh over, the question on every mind is whether Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s gameplan to see Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in power will succeed and if not what would be its impact on the relations between the two Telugu states.
After Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s landslide victory in Assembly elections in December, Rao had vowed to give a ‘return gift’ to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu. This was in an an obvious reference to Naidu’s aggressive campaigning in Telangana as the Congress party’s alliance partner.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief, during his campaign, focussed on the constituencies in and around Hyderabad with a sizeable population of people having their roots in Andhra Pradesh.
However, the Congress-led ‘Praja Kotami’ or People’s Alliance that also included Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) came a cropper. The Congress could win 19 seats in 119-member Assembly while the TDP secured just two seats.
KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known, declared that he will campaign in Andhra Pradesh against the TDP. However, he backed down apparently after realising that Naidu may use the TRS campaign to his advantage.
The TRS leader declared full support to YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and also invited it join the Federal Front mooted by KCR as an alternative to both the Congress and the BJP at the national level.
Both KCR and his son and TRS working president K. Chandrashekhar Rao predicted on many occasions that YSRCP will come to power in Andhra Pradesh and will also win 20-22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in that state.
This was enough for Naidu to make it a campaign issue and target Jagan for being in collusion with those ‘inimical’ to Andhra Pradesh’s interests. Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for betraying Andhra Pradesh over the issue of special category status, the TDP chief alleged that the ‘triumvirate’ of Modi, KCR and Jagan was conspiring against the TDP and the state.
“They think Telugus have no masculinity. Don’t you get angry over this,” Naidu asked people at almost every election rally to whip-up Andhra self-respect sentiments. It was his counter to the TRS slogan of Telangana self-respect in the Assembly elections.
“Jagan stays in Hyderabad and hatches conspiracies with KCR to harm the interests of Andhra Pradesh,” was the often repeated allegation by Naidu during the campaign.
The alleged data theft case registered by the Telangana Police last month against a company providing IT services to TDP had strained the relations between the two states. While Telangana Police maintained that the company had illegal access to data of Andhra Pradesh citizens, Naidu hit back with the allegation that TRS committed theft of TDP data to help the YSRCP.
As Telangana formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for a thorough probe into the case, Andhra countered this with its own SIT for investigations into the theft of TDP data.
Naidu also accused TRS government that by targeting an IT company it was damaging the brand image of Hyderabad, which he built during his rule as the Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh (1995-2004).
Almost all the rich Andhra politicians have their economic interests in Hyderabad. The TDP alleged that TRS government threatened its leaders to force them withdraw from the contest against YSRCP.
Analysts say if Naidu retains power in Andhra Pradesh, already strained relations between the two states could take a turn for the worse. Naidu may even offer huge incentives to woo Andhra investors based in Hyderabad to shift to his state.
Alleging uneven distribution of assets at the time of bifurcation, Naidu had been demanding the Centre ensure that Andhra Pradesh get its due share as envisaged in Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
The Telugu states already have disputes over sharing of river waters and they often accuse each other of creating hurdles in the construction of irrigation projects.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be reached at [email protected])