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TDP@40: Will it survive for another decade?

Telugu Desam Party completed 40 years of its foundation on Tuesday. The party, which was founded on the plank of self-respect for Telugu people, has witnessed several ups and downs in the last four decades.

In the last 40 years, the TDP had enjoyed power for 21 years, including 16 years in the combined Andhra Pradesh and five years after the bifurcation of the state. And it was in opposition for the remaining 19 years, including the last three years in the residuary AP.

The party is virtually at crossroads now. Though losing the assembly elections was nothing new for the TDP, the way it has lost to the YSR Congress party in 2019, indicates how it has lost the confidence of the people. It is now struggling to regain the confidence of the people.

The biggest drawback for the TDP now is the leadership crisis. No doubt, present TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu is still a strong force in the party and he has been single-handedly managing the party affairs, the obvious question comes to the mind of the people is: after Naidu, who?

Naidu’s son and party general secretary Nara Lokesh has failed to prove his leadership capabilities in the last nine years of his entry into active politics. The main reason for this is that he had not got the opportunity to be among the people in the initial days of his political journey.

Within an hour of entering politics, the TDP came to power and Lokesh was habituated to enjoy the power; as a result, the people have failed to acknowledge him as a leader, let alone a chief minister material. 

In the last three years of the TDP in the opposition, Lokesh has been trying to go into the people on issues of public concern, but he has already got the image of being a dud in politics. Nobody is able to imagine him as the future leader of the TDP.

As a result, the burden is completely on Naidu to steer the party to victory in the next elections, scheduled to be held on April 2024. But by then, Naidu would turn 74 and if he cannot bring the party to power, it is more or less the end of the road for the party.

One doubts whether Naidu would have the energies to fight with the YSRC led by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy for another five years, let alone thinking of returning to power in 2029, when he will be 79 years old. 

In any case, Lokesh won’t be able to replace him as the TDP president, as many party leaders are not willing to accept his leadership if thrust upon them. They would definitely choose their own way of political career; and the TDP will end up a non-entity by 2029.

The only chance for the TDP to survive as a political party is to win the elections in 2024. If Naidu is able to do it, he will have to focus on building an alternative leadership in the party. If the party loses the polls, it is going to be disintegrated even if it gets an increased number of assembly seats.

In such an event, the TDP might remain on paper, unless some miracle happens to the party!

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Tags: TDP Nara Lokesh Chandrababu Naidu