Flag of the Telugu Desam Party, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Wikimedia commons)
Flag of the Telugu Desam Party, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | Wikimedia commons)

TDP needs new thought to cast off old image

Bhuvaneswari’s tour is ostensibly for consoling the families of those who had allegedly died of shock after her husband Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest.

Winter is coming but the political heat is on, not just in poll-bound Telangana but also its sibling Andhra Pradesh. We can go so far as to say Andhra is stealing a march over its neighbour though the latter is just a little over a month from elections. On Wednesday, opposition leader and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s wife Nara Bhuvaneswari embarked on a yatra christened Nijam gelavali (Truth must prevail). Hours later, the ruling YSRC flagged off its Samajika Sadhikara (Social empowerment) yatra. The final destination of these yatris is the heart of the voter who will have to make his or her choice.

Bhuvaneswari’s tour is ostensibly for consoling the families of those who had allegedly died of shock after her husband Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest. It is akin to the Odarpu yatra undertaken by YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy soon after the tragic death of his father YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Keeping aside the avowed purpose, if we look at it politically the obvious question is whether Bhuvaneswari, the late NT Rama Rao’s daughter, can evoke public sympathy for her jailed husband and re-energise the demoralised TDP. It would surely be an arduous journey. She was always behind the scenes, but is no novice. Now she is right at the forefront of a political battle. It seems the strategy is for her to keep the cadre and leaders confident and preoccupied until her husband comes out on bail. Public sympathy, if she can gain it, would be a bonus.

The YSRC counter is well-crafted to thwart Bhuvaneswari’s efforts. Its yatra is “of the poor and the middle class”—to galvanise the marginalised sections. One has to read between the lines to understand its true import. It is a class struggle of the poor against the bourgeoisie, as Jagan likes to reiterate. The bourgeoisie is the TDP, dominated by the powerful Kamma community. Though the YSRC claims it is not a caste struggle, one cannot miss the subtle messaging. Bhuvaneswari may find the going tough in the days to come. She has already had a slip of the tongue when she claimed she could make Rs 400 crore if she sold a two per cent stake in her company. This rhetoric suits the YSRC. The TDP needs to think out of the box to stay afloat. Imitation is not innovation.

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