Politics is all about networking and alliances are invariably based on mutual benefit more than anything else. It is elementary. And it is no exaggeration to say that no one understands this better than TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu. It has been his guiding principle in his long and chequered career. Looked at from this angle, his threat to walk out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) should come as no surprise.
His by-now frequent tantrums against the BJP are ostensibly due to the Modi government’s alleged lackadaisical attitude towards Andhra Pradesh, which was promised the moon at the time of creation of Telangana in 2014. It is undeniable that PM Narendra Modi and his colleagues in the BJP had vowed speedy implementation of sops assured in the AP Reorganisation Act and more, but almost four years on, their U-turn on special category status to the state coupled with a bureaucratic approach to settle pending issues has created a negative perception among the people.
This is not to say that Central aid isn’t being given to the state. It is, but not as liberally and expeditiously without riders as Naidu wants. The TDP chief has visited New Delhi 28 times, and submitted numerous representations to no avail. In fact, his last meeting with the prime minister materialised after one-and-a-half years. Perhaps, more than Central assistance, it is this almost disdainful and suspicious attitude towards him that seems to be rankling in the mind of Naidu.
Which begs the question as to why the NDA is treating him so. The strategic view of NDA-II towards its allies appears to be one of domination rather than accommodation—a reversal of the Vajpayee-era diplomacy. It has already more or less lost the Shiv Sena. In Andhra, YSRC chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose unconditional support the BJP enjoys even now, is waiting in the wings to fill Naidu’s shoes. Their unstated friendship, the trust deficit and increasing negativity against the BJP—all point to one inescapable conclusion: The TDP-BJP alliance is becoming untenable.