For the First Time in Its 37-year History, TDP to Fight a Solo Poll Battle in Andhra Pradesh

Claiming that 35% of the EVMs malfunctioned during polling in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, Naidu said voters had to suffer as some of them waited till the early hours of Friday to cast their votes.

Hyderabad: The TDP, which was formed on the basis of self-respect of Telugu people, has decided for the first time to contest the upcoming parliamentary and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh on its own.

Following the recent drubbing in the Telangana assembly elections, which it contested as a junior partner to Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu has resolved to contest the polls independently, a first since the party’s inception 37 years ago.

However, the southern party said it will continue to work with the Congress at the national level.

“There are different reasons for this. Of course, the TDP is considering the results in Telangana. People of Andhra still accuse the Congress of dividing the state and even for not granting it special status. Definitely, it has an adverse effect. In such a scenario, there is no alternative for the TDP other than going solo. Now, it is a direct fight between the YSR Congress (YSRC) and TDP,” senior journalist Subrahmanyam told News 18.

In its first election in 1983, the TDP had allied with the Sanjay Vichar Manch, headed by Sanjay Gandhi’s wife and union minister Maneka Gandhi. The outfit was allotted five assembly seats, but failed to win even one, even as the TDP won 201 seats and NT Rama Rao became the chief minister.

In the 1985 elections, the TDP forged an alliance with the BJP and Left Parties. While the BJP won eight of the 10 seats it contested from, the communists grabbed 22 of the 24 constituencies. The southern party won 202 and came back to power.

Though the same electoral understanding continued for the 1989 elections, it failed to recreate its success and the TDP was confined to the opposition role. The Congress came back to power with 181 seats. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated right before the elections.

In 1994 polls, the TDP was in alliance with communist parties only. The CPI and CPI(M) contested from 37 assembly segments and won 34 seats. The TDP won 216 seats and NTR became the chief minister for the third time.

The next elections in 1999 was fought with Naidu as the party president. This time, the party contested seal a pre-poll pact with the BJP, which won 10 of the 24 seats it contested from. The TDP got 185 and Naidu became the CM for second time.

With an incumbency of 10 years and a resurgent YS Raja Sekhara Reddy of the Congress, TDP lost power again in 2004. This time too, the elections were contested on a similar arrangement, but BJP won only two seats, while the TDP got 47.

In 2009, the ‘mahakutami’ was formed by the TDP, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), led by K Chandrashekar Rao, and the Left parties.

While the TDP won 92 seats, the TRS won 10 and the Left constituents won five seats. The Congress came back to power with 156 MLAs and YS Raja Sekhar Reddy was made the chief minister for the second time.

Post-bifurcation, the TDP contested the 2014 elections in both Telangana and Andhra with the BJP as its partner. The saffron party won three seats in AP and five in the newly formed state. Naidu formed the government in Andhra.

Ahead of the 2018 polls in Telangana, Naidu stitched alliances with Congress, Left parties and Telangana Jana Samithi, led by activist Kodandaram. But the alliance could not give results. TDP contested in 13 seats and won just two, while the Congress won just 19 of the 99 segments it contested. Communists and TJS could not open their account.

Irrespective of the strength of the parties TDP was in the alliance with different parties, although it never depended on them. All the major parties in AP elections - TDP, YSRCP, Jana Sena, Congress and BJP – are contesting independently this time​.