ANANTAPUR: With the YSR Congress appearing formidable in the run-up for polls, the electoral partners-to-be for 2024, the Telugu Desam and the Jana Sena, seem to be wishing for a united Opposition that would include even the saffron brigade and the Reds.
In his usual style of ambiguity, Pawan Kalyan on Sunday spoke of a miracle to happen in 2024 on the lines of emergency when the diametrically opposite ideologies joined together. "I don’t know yet who all will come together but I wish there should be a united opposition to keep intact the anti-incumbency votes," he told media in Nandyal where he held a massive rally and met families of farmers who committed suicide. Combined AP too witnessed a similar broad spectrum of anti-Congress and both the Left and the BJP entering electoral alliance with NTR’s Telugu Desam in 1984 Lok Sabha and 1985 Assembly polls.
The BJP, however, sought to distance itself from the plan, the ruling party ridiculed Telugu Desam (TD) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu's craving for alliances without which, the YSRC leaders said, he could not survive.
The TD grabbed power with the difference of only 1.63 per cent votes in the 2014 elections with a poll alliance of the BJP and the Jana Sena but faced humiliating defeat in the 2024 elections with 10 per cent votes. Therefore, the TD and the Jana Sena are planning to restrain the split of anti-incumbency votes with the support of other Opposition parties to dethrone the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government, repeating the 2014 results. The Maha Kutami (grand alliance) of Opposition parties in the 2018 elections in Telangana was a big failure and with the support of the welfare agenda, YSRC is hopeful to once again regain power.
The TD is famous for poll alliances as the party entered into election fray with alliance of Left parties in 1996 and 1998 elections, with the BJP in 1999 elections and in 2004 elections. Naidu, after facing defeat in 2004 election ditched the poll alliance with the BJP and entered elections with the alliance of the TRS and the CPI in the name of Maha Kutami in the 2009 elections but lost the elections. Naidu once re-entered into a poll alliance with the BJP in the 2014 elections with the support of the Jana Sena and came into power. Sensing danger of anti-incumbency votes, Naidu once ditched poll ties with the BJP, Jana Sena and the Left parties but the plan boomeranged due to humiliating defeat in 2019 elections.
Now, Naidu and Pawan Kalyan are bringing back their old formula of alliance. On Jana Sena formation day, Pawan Kalyan announced that he would not allow splitting of anti-incumbency votes to throw down the Jagan government by forming a poll alliance. Responding to Pawan Kalyan's call, Naidu said the TD was ready to make sacrifices from its side and gave indications about acceptance of the proposal.
On Sunday, during his tour of Nandyal district, Pawan Kalyan asserted the need to form an alternative to the YSRC government.
Interestingly, BJP AP president Somu Veerraju clarified that the BJP was against family parties and was not ready to sail with family-based regional parties. Indirectly responding to Naidu's statement of sacrifices by the TD, Veerraju said the BJP was totally aware of the TD’s sacrifices and now the BJP was not ready to do more sacrifices.
However, the ministers and YSRC leaders expressed confidence that there was no threat to the YSRC with any grand or mega alliances as their party was going to win elections with public support in 2024.