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VIJAYAWADA: The usually busy TDP president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was unusually busy on Friday, going into a huddle, first with party MPs and later on with the newly-formed strategy committee besides interacting via video conference with reportedly 15,000 party leaders in the 13 districts.
At the end of it all, as is his wont, he kept the cards close to his chest but outlined the broad contours of his strategy vis-a-vis the BJP: crucial decisions will be taken depending on the situation in the process of upping the pressure on the Centre step by step. However, reliable sources told TNIE that TDP’s exit from the NDA is now just a matter of weeks.
When some party leaders opined that continuing in the NDA could send wrong signals to the people, the Chief Minister quipped that timing is important in politics and observed, “One should neither be hasty nor sluggish. Both will backfire.”
In this context, he dismissed YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s query on the logic behind the TDP continuing in the NDA, wondering if the party should learn from the main accused in 11 cases. In the same breath, he felt that resignation of MPs would not be of any use.
TDP insiders said it was decided at the meeting to up the ante and that Naidu was firm that injustice done to the State by both the national parties, BJP and Congress, must be explained to the people loud and clear. He advised the party leaders to visit their respective constituencies with the same message and also make it crystal clear that TDP is not playing politics.
When contacted, Parakala Prabhakar, communications advisor to the State government and a member of the strategy committee, told TNIE that the strategy committee formed by the Chief Minister would coordinate with MPs, and State leaders and follow developments in the national capital and the State to chalk out a way forward.
Asked about the mood in the government, he said the unusually harsh presser by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was uncalled for, and distasteful coming as it did after a restrained and impassioned speech of the Chief Minister in the State Assembly.
Naidu wants BJP, Congress exposed
CM Naidu wants his party leaders to tell the people in their respective constituencies how both BJP and Congress did injustice to the state. However, he does not want to burn bridges with NDA by himself, and said resignation of MPs would serve no purpose
BJP leaders may jump ship
The State BJP is in disarray with several leaders up in arms against party president Haribabu. The party is holding a core committee meeting on Sunday following which some leaders may join either TDP or YSR Congress. A senior party leader said BJP is as good as decimated in the State
“Just a couple of hours before his press conference, the Chief Minister had delivered a speech in the State Assembly and was very restrained. What is very distasteful is the manner in which Jaitley chose to speak (to the State government) through the media instead of the official channel of communication.
The Chief Minister is after all the senior-most leader in the country and an ally of the ruling coalition at that.” He indicated that Jaitley’s press conference left the TDP with no option but to pull out of the NDA government but made it clear that the TDP doesn’t want to burn the bridges by itself.
The TDP strategists also appeared dismissive of the challenge thrown at the TDP by YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to support or move a no-confidence motion against the Modi government. The YSRC on Friday said it was ready to move a no-confidence motion on Monday itself instead of March 21 and sought to know the TDP’s stand.
Kutumba Rao, another member of the strategy committee, scoffed at it, saying it is a “cheap trick of a chillar party.”
Meanwhile, the TDP politburo meeting is scheduled on Sunday to finalise its plans for the impending election to the three Rajya Sabha seats. As things stand, the TDP will easily win two but for the third, if it wants, it could give the YSRC a run for its money.
On the other hand, the BJP too is all set to hold a “core committee” meeting in Vijayawada on Sunday. The party’s national joint general secretary V Satish will be chairing the meeting.
However, the State party unit is deeply divided with several leaders up in arms against State party chief Haribabu. A senior leader told TNIE that the party is as good as decimated and indicated that he could well be joining the YSRC.
“There is confusion in the State BJP. There has not been any response from Delhi leadership or activity on the ground even though the TDP is going all-out. We don’t know why the central leadership is mum despite knowing the TDP’s double game. State leadership is in cohorts with the TDP,” he said when asked if he is going to switch sides. Some other leaders of the party may even join the TDP.