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TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu's son Lokesh may soon take over party reins

The TDP faced a drubbing at YSRCP’s hands this year, managing to win just 23 Assembly seats (out of 174) and three Lok Sabha constituencies out of 25.
Jul 30, 2019 / 10:19 PM IST

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh may soon start taking centre stage in the party. Senior TDP leaders said given Naidu’s age, the 69-year old might not be able to undertake another ‘padayatra’ like he did before the 2014 general and state elections. Lokesh is likely to be given more responsibility to take up such activities and lead the party in the coming days.

A senior TDP leader, who did not want to be named, said Naidu is currently in the US for a health check and is expected to be back in the next few days. “Once he is back, we will also properly assess the loss to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) we faced in this year’s general and state elections. Moreover, there are other organizational decisions also that have to be taken, and we cannot rule out that some more people might want to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," he added.

The TDP faced a drubbing at YSRCP’s hands this year, managing to win just 23 Assembly seats (out of 174) and three Lok Sabha constituencies out of 25. The YSRCP, led by party president and incumbent chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, won a staggering 151 assembly and 22 parliamentary seats. The loss left the TDP with much to think about, especially about whether its core Backward Classes (BC) supporters had shifted to the ruling party.

Moreover, four of its Rajya Sabha MPs and a handful of local leaders had defected to the BJP recently. The development had taken place when Naidu and Lokesh were on holiday in Europe, leaving the party stunned.

The TDP leader also said, internally, Lokesh has been facing flak from leaders after the loss in the elections. Lokesh, who is TDP general secretary, was an MLC during the previous government, and held the information technology portfolio. He, however, lost the Mangalagiri assembly seat to YSRCP’s Alla Ramakrishna Reddy in the 2019 polls.

“Naidu’s health might not permit him to take up major activities like before and the party will soon decide on how and when to launch Lokesh. He was taking care of the TDP’s social media earlier, given his IT background, but he cannot keep doing that alone. Moreover, once our party chief is back, we will fully analyze, at the booth level, as to what went wrong in the elections," said the TDP leader.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said Lokesh had not been able to show any great performance so far. “Though TDP insiders say that Lokesh was involved in a lot of decisions, but externally it appeared that Naidu alone was calling the shots. If that is true then maybe Lokesh has some mettle in him, but he will have to show that he is a worthy successor. But the TDP does need a more dynamic leadership which can take on Jagan, who is younger than Naidu," he added.