VIJAYAWADA: The Telugu Desam is being subject to another round of poaching of its leaders by both the BJP and the YSRC. The pressure is so severe that the party may split, according to sources. The manoeuvres of Telugu Desam supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu may not be enough to stanch the flow of leaders away from the party.
Sources said Mr Naidu had dropped hints about allying with the BJP and the Jana Sena to create a 2014-like coalition to prevent the party leaders from leaving, but it was having little success. Worse, BJP leaders have repeatedly rebuffed Mr Naidu by quoting party president Amit Shah and saying the “doors are closed” for him.
Besides, Mr Naidu called for statewide protests against the sand crisis on October 25 but many top leaders skipped the programme.
The BJP has given Rajya Sabha member Y. Sujana Chowdary the task of bringing TD and YSRC leaders into the party fold. He has started off by meeting TD leaders including legislators Vallabhaneni Vamsi and Karanam Balaram.
Interestingly, Mr Vamsi is being wooed by the YSRC as week. Ministers Kodali Venkateswara Rao and Perni Venkataramaiah contacted Mr Vamsi to strengthen the party in Krishna district and met YSRC president and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Mr Vamsi is being offered the district party presidentship and a Legislative Council seat. Mr Vamsi without refuting rumours of party change said that he would announce his decision after the Diwali amavasya.
Opposition legislators and leaders are worried about protecting of their supporters and followers against the attractions being promised by the BJP and the YSRC for the next four and a half years without power. A TD leader said, “We could do something for our followers if we were the ruling party.”
According to reliable sources, 10 leaders including four MLAs are readying to quit the TD after Diwali. Mr Reddy has directed Assembly Speaker Tammineni Sitaram to disqualify legislators who try to join the YSRC without quitting their parent party.
To circumvent this, TD legislators are planning to form a separate group and defect to avoid disqualification. This holds a bigger danger to the TD as it would split the party. A political analyst said that when YSRC and the BJP are trying to net powerful leaders of the TD, the party would be in grave peril.
Asked about the poaching, AP BJP president Kanna Lakshminarayana said that Mr Naidu was living with the fear of corruption cases which was damaging the morale of TD leaders and cadres. He said there was no future for the TD due to its corruption and anomalies in the past five years.