Visakhapatnam: For the first time since its inception, the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh is going it alone—without any allies in the general elections 2019. Even when it made the debut after film star NT Rama Rao floated the TDP in 1982 and took the plunge in the 1983 general elections in just nine months, the party had a pact with the Sanjay Vichar Manch of Maneka Gandhi which was allotted five seats, on way to dislodging the Congress party for the first time in the State.
In the 1984 elections post-Indira Gandhi assassination, the TDP had joined hands with the BJP. While the entire opposition parties suffered a debacle in the country, the TDP survived in Andhra Pradesh, and the BJP which won just two seats in the entire country, got one in Hanmakonda seat, thanks to its major partner. The TDP had then emerged as the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha. The NTR’s party continued with BJP alliance in the 1989 polls. But, it suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of the Congress which staged a great come back in the combined Andhra Pradesh.
In 1995, the TDP split and Chandrababu Naidu usurped the throne dislodging NT Rama Rao. During the Lok Sabha elections that followed in 1996, the TDP chose to dump the BJP and join hands with the Left parties, leading to the emergence of a united front in which Chandrababu Naidu played a key role. In the mid-term polls to the Lok Sabha in 1998, the BJP formed the government at the Centre under Atal Behari Vajpayee.
In the 1999 general elections, the TDP again joined with the BJP to romp home winner and Chandrababu Naidu became the Chief Minister of AP for the second time. The TDP-BJP alliance continued in the 2004 elections also, but the combine lost to the United Progressive Alliance led by the Congress party which captured power at the Centre. After the debacle, the TDP bid adieu to the BJP and again joined the TRS and Left parties during the 2009 polls without success.
After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the TDP once again forged an alliance with the BJP to win in 2014. The Jana Sena Party which did not contest in the elections, pledged its support for them. After sailing with the Narendra Modi government till last year, the TDP fell out. In the elections to the Telangana Assembly recently, the TDP even stooped to join hands with its arch rival Congress party, only to bite the dust.
Now in 2019, the TDP does not have any poll pacts with other political parties. Never before did the party go it all alone and it will be interesting to see what the outcome will be, for, this is the only occasion TDP has chosen to test its own strength without others’ support.