KCR may enter Andhra Pradesh through Owaisi

The Telangana CM announced that he will enter Andhra Pradesh to work against Naidu

kcr-bhanu-prakash TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

Post Telangana elections, the focus has now shifted to the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. The residual state with N. Chandrababu Naidu as chief minister and Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy of the YSRCP as opposition leader will go to polls in mid 2019 along with the Lok Sabha elections. The other major players include popular actor and Jana Sena founder, Pawan Kalyan, and the BJP.

After their resounding victory, TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has announced that he will enter Andhra Pradesh to work against Naidu. Soon after, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) followed suit and said they are also raring to go to AP.

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All roads end at Amaravathi, but what does this mean to Naidu? To start with, can AIMIM influence Muslim voters to be on their side? Muslims in Rayalaseema and Andhra regions, which make up Andhra Pradesh, are culturally and politically different from Muslim voters in Telangana. Though the AIMIM has strong presence in Greater Hyderabad and some influence in parts of the erstwhile Nizam state which is now in Telangana, they had never attempted seriously to capture Muslim pockets in the adjoining regions. There also exists no major party like AIMIM in these areas catering to minorities. Can AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi hurt Naidu? Yes. This reply comes, surprisingly, from their bête noire—the BJP.

“AIMIM’s campaign will definitely have some impact on Chandrababu Naidu,” said Sudheesh Rambhotla, BJP spokesperson for Andhra Pradesh. “In some way, sections of minorities and pockets with more Muslims may get influenced by Owaisi and vote against the TDP.”

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Since, the BJP and the AIMIM now have a common enemy in the TDP, will they work together in Andhra Pradesh?

“Our ideology is very different from AIMIM, which is more communal and narrow-minded. How can we work with them? It is Chandrababu who had encouraged the AIMIM in united Andhra Pradesh and now karma is catching up with him,” Rambhotla said.

The big question is will Rao set foot in Andhra? Most likely, he won't. If he does, it will probably the biggest ‘gift’ to Naidu. Facing anti-incumbency and a stiff opposition in the form of the YSRCP, the TDP will be more than happy to welcome KCR and turn the fight into an insider versus outsider, Telangana vs Andhra battle. KCR may just be the opponent Naidu is looking for to bring voters to his side. This move of KCR may spoil the chances of all the opposition parties and upset their calculations.

Busy with his new-found ambition to play a key role in national politics, KCR may, however, depute his ‘friend’ Owaisi to carry out his plan in Andhra Pradesh without his physical presence there.