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A tumultuous journey

A tumultuous journey
Highlights

The over three decades-long political odyssey of Telugu Desam is often punctuated with stormy upheavals. But, the party always displayed a remarkable resilience to remain relevant to the fast-changing political landscape. The party leadership, especially N Chandrababu Naidu, has an unparallel killer instinct to fight back. 

The over three decades-long political odyssey of Telugu Desam is often punctuated with stormy upheavals. But, the party always displayed a remarkable resilience to remain relevant to the fast-changing political landscape. The party leadership, especially N Chandrababu Naidu, has an unparallel killer instinct to fight back.

Undeterred by 10-long years of exile from power, marked by debilitating assault from leaders like Rajasekhara Reddy and despite being caught in the quagmire of political indecisiveness over the demand for separate state of Telangana, the TDP could emerge victorious in the new State of Andhra Pradesh. Thus the party has proved its skeptics and cynics wrong.

At one point of time, it was even electorally decimated. But, it could strike back with vengeance, upsetting the wild calculations of its political rivals.

Critics may dismiss it as a political chameleon. Party pragmatists may describe it as the survival of the fittest. But, the fact remains that the TDP has demonstrated exceptional political adaptability, often changing its political goalpost with ease.

The birth of TDP owes to the fervent anti-Congressism. Yet, it did not shy away from steering the United Front that remained in power only with the support of Congress.

While taking up cudgels against what it called the arbitrary division of the State, the TDP had no hesitation in teaming up with the party that was a party to the bifurcation.

It conveniently switched friendship between the Left and the Right, depending on the direction in which political currents blow at a given point of time.

The toughest moment came for the party in the run-up to the bifurcation. Braving strong political headwinds, the TDP could consummately convert the threat into an opportunity without which revival of its political fortunes would have been simply impossible.

An unflinching commitment to Welfare State adorned the emergence of TDP under the formidable leadership of NT Rama Rao. But, under the changed dispensation, the party transformed into a protagonist of free market reforms that called for wilting of the Welfare State.

Learning from its political debacle, the party soon adapted itself to populism. Still the party leadership remains the strongest advocate of economic reforms. Perhaps no other regional party leadership exhibits such an ideological commitment to laissez-faire economics.

This might have distanced the party from the poor at one point of time. But, it did give the party an image of a harbinger of private capital-driven modern administration.

At this post-bifurcation political milieu, the TDP faces a challenge in harmonising the conflicting interests of the party in both the States. A party that fiercely fought the authoritarian Center under the Congress rule is showing faintheartedness in questioning the Center’s blatant denial of what it promised to the State.

The deliberations at Mahanadu should provide us an inkling of how the party deals with such political complexities and peculiarities. Uncongenial political weather is not uncommon to Telugu Desam. The manner in which it responded to such situations defined the destiny of the party.

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