The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition, plans to launch a large-scale campaign, and it is not against the ruling Congress, but against the news network NDTV.
A survey by NDTV in late August has showed that if Lok Sabha elections were held now, YS Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress (YSRC) would bag 21 out of the state’s 42 seats, while the Congress would get only nine, TRS 10, and the TDP and MIM would get only the remaining two seats. The survey favoured Jagan over former CM and opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu of TDP as the possible CM if polls were held now.
The survey came at the time when TDP was trying its best to revamp the lost glory. Soon after the survey was aired on August 28, TDP held a meeting and its leaders Revanth Reddy and Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao accused NDTV of violating journalistic ethics. They alleged that the YSRC had paid Rs 10 crore to the channel for a favourable survey.
The Jagan camp has not reacted to the allegation. Governance Now sought comments from NDTV but it did not reply.
MLA Revanth Reddy told a press conference that the survey had no credibility as NDTV had a contract with Sakshi media group owned by Jagan Mohan Reddy. He said the survey has undermined the media's journalistic values. He said the party would lodge a complaint with the Editors' Guild of India and News Broadcasters' Association.
Revanth Reddy furnished copies of newspaper clippings to convey that the NDTV group had taken over the editorial board of Sakshi Television. He said NDTV would gain about Rs 20 crore due to the Sakshi deal. Therefore, he alleged, that NDTV had conducted an “irrelevant” survey to please Jaganmohan Reddy.
Advising the NDTV group to change its approach, he said that the TDP would lodge complaints with the National Broadcasters Association and other relevant bodies with regard to this political survey.
Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu said, “It is designed to promote one party and target another. Why was the survey conducted in Andhra Pradesh and not in Karnataka, which is heading for polls?”
The TDP leader, without naming NDTV, claimed the channel worked as consultant for Sakshi and received a huge amount of money every year.
“There is a contradiction. On the one hand, the media says corruption is the biggest issue the country is facing; but on the other, it is predicting victory for a corrupt man,” Naidu said in an obvious reference to the survey's finding that 48 percent people prefer Jaganmohan Reddy as chief minister. Only 18 percent respondents believe Naidu will be the best chief minister.
The NDTV survey showed that Jaganmohan Reddy, who is in jail for some months under corruption charge, is the first choice of the voters as the ‘best chief minister’ if elections were held now. As many as 48 percent of the voters who participated in the survey favoured Jagan, while only 18 percent preferred Chandrababu Naidu, 17 percent supported TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, 11 percent for chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and six percent for film star and Rajya Sabha member Chiranjeevi. The survey predicted that the Congress would be wiped out in the state.
The TDP is in bad shape, as it lost both the 2004 and 2009 general elections, and could not win even a single by-election after that, both in coastal Andhra and Telangana, though by-elections were held a number of times.
The party was divided on regional lines, as is the case of the Congress too, with its leaders of Telangana demanding a separate state and those of Seemandhra preferring the united Andhra Pradesh. Added to this, the rift between Nara and Nandamuri families was coming to the fore now and then, adding to the woes of Chandrababu Naidu. Jaganmohan Reddy floating his own party also added to the problems of the TDP, with some of its leaders jumping to that party and some more were sitting on the fence.