Just before the crucial 2019 elections, the TDP has played its riskiest gamble by crossing swords with the BJP at the center. Finding the door shut at their demands for special status for Andhra Pradesh, Telegu Desam supremo Chandrababu Naidu had no option but to put a brave face and ask his TDP ministers at the central government to put in their papers. The two ministers of the BJP in the state assembly also gave in their papers in a tit-for-tat.

TDP takes a bold gamble

The seeds for the feud were sown in the ongoing war of words between Telegu Desam and its chief rival – the YSR Congress over the issue of getting the state a special status.

However, many see this as a ploy to garner sympathy votes. The state is bound to have an anti-incumbency wave, and the TDP supremo has put his bet on the latest gamble.

BJP — Nothing to lose

The BJP is playing a smart game. Fresh from its electoral success in Tripura and the North East, it is seeking to increase its strength in AP. The BJP is not well organized in AP with a weak cadre and weak organizational structure.

Till now it was playing second fiddle to regional parties and turncoats like former Congresswoman and Minister Daggubati Purandhareswar. However, a resurgent BJP is aiming to go solo and use Andhra Pradesh as a stepping stone for its Mission South where it is still trying to find its roots. The BJP has grown in a state where it had a marginal presence.

Another significant advantage which the BJP has is that it has maintained cordial relations with all the small and regional parties. The YSR Congress is friendly to the government at the center while the other party, the Congress has few friends and remains a pariah for the two regional parties.

The BJP is projecting itself as the third alternative in the state after TDP, YSR Congress and Congress which has almost been obliterated and too weak to pose a credible challenge. The right-wing party has two Member of Parliament from the state which has 25 seats. Naidu’s act is a ploy to gain the upper hand in the game of one-upmanship by projecting himself as a martyr.

The Jagan factor

Why did Naidu take this extreme measure?

The Andhra CM was under tremendous pressure after YSRCP Jagan Mohan Reddy started to taunt him for not doing anything for the state.

Worse finance minister Jaitley’s statements on Wednesday rubbed salt in the wounds of the striking TDP MPs in the Parliament, and there was no other option left for Naidu but to take a tough stand. Jagan, who is making all the right moves and telling the voters in AP that he will do more than Naidu for the state.

Still with NDA

The TDP is also aware of the BJP juggernaut. Hence it has not exited the NDA and would not like to sit in the opposition after the 2019 elections.

Naidu has described the present state of affairs as separation and not a divorce.

Naidu is also facing severe pressure from his party too. They are asking him to draw swords and take on the NDA government which has roughly shod over the aspirations of the people of the state. The feedback which Naidu obtained from the remote corners of the state is that people want a change and by projecting himself as a martyr, he hopes to get their votes. The Congress party is also making advances towards the TDP and said that if voted to power will grant Andhra Pradesh special status.

Wait for Rajya Sabha polls?

The three Rajya Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh will go to polls on March 23, 2018. the available numbers suggest that the TDP will win two seats, while the YSR Congress would win one. The latter’s nominee Vemireddy Prabakar Reddy has already filed his nomination.

Experts predict that Chandrababu Naidu is waiting for the RS polls to be over to pull the rug off the Modi government.