New Delhi, Aug. 1 -- In a last-minute failed desperate bid to stall the announcement for the creation of a separate Telangana state, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu had called at least three senior Congress leaders ahead of Tuesday's crucial meetings.
Naidu, whose party had opposed Telangana when it was in power in Andhra Pradesh, and provided key outside support to the BJP-led NDA government, pleaded with Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Digvijaya Singh, to either "abandon" the move or "delay it for the time being".
Sources said the TDP chief also reminded the Congress leaders that his party did not "disturb" the Kiran Kumar Reddy government by bringing a no-confidence motion against it during the past two years.
In fact the party, which has 79 legislators in the 294-member house, had stayed neutral in the last no-confidence motion moved by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the YSR Congress in the state assembly in March this year, a move that helped the Congress survive the crucial vote.
The TDP, which ruled Andhra Pradesh for nearly 17 years and once a formidable force in Telangana, has been relegated to political sidelines in the region due to its confusing stand on the issue of bifurcating the state.
After having opposed Telangana in 2000, the TDP took a U-turn in October 2008 when it passed a resolution, supporting the demand for a separate state. However, it continued with a series of flip-flops, consistently changing its stand based on political compulsions until December 2012 when the party sent a letter to the all-party meeting, finally in support of the demand.
Despite its popularity having declined over the years, the TDP's political structure in Telangana remains intact. By conceding Telangana, the Congress has gained an upper hand in the region and is now in a position to dictate terms to the TRS.
There is hope for the TDP in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions where the Congress has lost ground due to its move to divide the state. But the YSR Congress remains the dominant political force in both these regions.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.