Telugu Desam Party headed by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been facing the biggest existential crisis since it was founded in 1982.
The party, which lost power to the Congress party led by late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy in 2004 in the combined Andhra Pradesh state, managed to come to power in the divided Andhra Pradesh in 2014, thanks to the astute leadership of Naidu, who was shrewd in taking decisions that would help the party to win the elections.
However, five years later, the TDP is in dire straits by losing power with huge margin. It could win only 23 out of 175 assembly seats and one does not know how many of them will remain ultimately.
The party now faces the biggest challenge of coming back to power in the state in 2024 withstanding the mighty YSR Congress party.
According to sources, the party leaders are apprehensive that Naidu might not have the same energy levels to bring the party back to power five years down the line.
One of the main reasons for their apprehension is that Naidu is getting old and he would be turning 74 by next elections and so, might not have the power to challenge the YSRC.
A senior leader, who recently defected to the BJP after being with the TDP for several years, observed that it would be difficult for Naidu to bounce back, unless he grooms a strong leader as his successor.
“The biggest hurdle for the revival of the TDP is Nara Lokesh. It was Naidu’s biggest mistake not to believe others, except his son who he wants to make his successor. But, unfortunately, Lokesh has been proved a dud. He has neither leadership qualities nor has mass appeal,” he said.
It is because of the fear that Lokesh might succeed Naidu as the party chief that many of the TDP leaders are looking up to other parties like the BJP and the YSRC, he explained.