Party cadre feel that YSRCP would project it as ‘a move out of desperation’
The scheduled visit of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president N. Chandrababu Naidu to his home constituency of Kuppam on October 29 and 30 seems to have caused some discomfort among the party cadre instead of boosting their morale, if the observations made by political leaders are to be believed.
Mr Naidu is scheduled to reach Kuppam by road from Bengaluru on Friday and address a public meeting there, besides taking part in roadshows in nine panchayats in the recently created Kuppam Municipality, for which the election notification is likely to be issued next month.
The last time Mr. Naidu launched an election campaign in Kuppam region was in 1989 when he was elected as an MLA from there, after his debacle in Chandragiri constituency in 1983. The TDP president has never taken part in a poll campaign in Kuppam in the last 32 years; all his visits were meant either for thanksgiving after the elections or for launching welfare programmes.
Mr. Naidu’s scheduled visit ahead of the municipal elections has raised eyebrows among the TDP cadre who feel that the YSRCP leaders would project the visit as ‘a move borne out of desperation’, given the political heat after the attack on the TDP office allegedly by YSRCP cadre. The results of the recent civic polls came as a jolt to the TDP as the YSRCP bagged all the four ZPTCs and four MPTCs and about 70% of the sarpanch posts in Mr. Naidu’s home constituency. In the 2019 Assembly elections, the victory margin of Mr. Naidu had reduced by around 20,000 votes when compared to the 2014 elections.
The TDP cadre from Kuppam constituency, who switched their loyalties to the YSRCP, maintain that they, while in Mr. Naidu’s party, had failed in convincing the voters during the 2019 elections. They point out that in the last 32 years as the local MLA, and 14 years as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh (including the five years at the helm of the residual State post bifurcation), Mr. Naidu had not brought a single industry to his home turf. The Kuppam airstrip project, which was claimed to benefit local farmers, was shelved. The promise of getting the Handri-Neeva water to the region too is yet to be fulfilled, they say.
“More than 5,000 youth travel to Bangarpet, Bengaluru, and Jollarpettai and Chennai in Tamil Nadu to work as daily wagers. Thousands of families have left to the neighbouring States in search of livelihood. All these factors have impacted the political scenario in the Kuppam region,” says a TDP leader, on the condition of anonymity.
On the other hand, the YSRCP cadre is confident of wresting the Kuppam municipality. Panchayat Raj Minister P. Ramachandra Reddy have visited Kuppam several times in the last two years and took part in many government programmes. His son and Rajampeta MP P.V. Mithun Reddy on Wednesday visited Kuppam and announced a string of developmental works worth several crores.
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