Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where TDP is present, will be under lockdown restrictions until that time.


Hyderabad: Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is perhaps the first political party in the country to hold its two-day annual conference, Mahanadu, on 28 and 29 May via the Zoom application. Party president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has taken a decision to this effect as both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where the party is present, will be under lockdown restrictions by the time.

As many as 10,000 delegates from the two Telugu speaking states, besides a few other states, will be joining the virtual conference which will be coordinated from its Hyderabad headquarters, NTR Bhavan. Naidus’ son and TDP general secretary N. Lokesh has been entrusted with the task of holding the meet through the Zoom application, promoted by a San Jose-based US company.

This is the first time that TDP, in its 38-year history, will be holding its Mahanadu by a virtual platform without gathering at a place, thanks to the changed circumstances, but its leaders say that the decision to hold the event through an application shows the capacity of its tech savvy leadership. “TDP is synonymous with tech savvy from the beginning,” said its Telangana unit president L. Ramana.

Every year, TDP holds a two-day conference on 28 and 29 May and takes stock of the political situation and make resolutions for the coming year. The Mahanadu is a big event in the party calendar and it used to be even bigger when it used to be in power in the previous combined state as well as in Andhra Pradesh from 2014 to 2018. It lost power in Andhra in 2019 elections and is a marginal force in Telangana.

However, Naidu is making a strong bid to retrieve his lost ground in Andhra Pradesh by taking on Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s moves to do away with scrapping Amaravati’s capital city project etc and also the way Covid-19 crisis has been handled in the state. Naidu wanted to utilise the coming Mahanadu to expose the failures of the Jagan government, but this application-based conference may not help him big.

Moreover, Naidu and Lokesh are locked in their home in Hyderabad since 22 March and couldn’t come to Andhra Pradesh as they would be placed in home quarantine for 14 days if they return. Naidu even tried to visit Visakhapatnam last week to call on victims of the styrene gas leak disaster by hiring a helicopter, but he couldn’t make it, due to technical issues.

Still, the TDP machinery is making efforts to make this Zoom Mahanadu a success by encouraging delegates from both the states join it through mobile phones. Sources said brief notes on every resolution would be made available to the party leaders as well as media. “This may be a virtual Mahanadu this year, but you won’t miss out on anything,” said a party leader working on the arrangements talking to this newspaper. The lockdown restrictions prohibit all large gatherings, including meetings of political and religious activities till further notice that may continue for many more months. Not just large gatherings, but also small ones of political parties and other associated activities are going on through the Zoom application, in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana since recently.

Two weeks ago, Congress Legislature Party of Telangana held its meeting through Zoom. Regular meetings of all political parties, too, are being held through this and other applications and all senior leaders are encouraged to download conference applications. “This is the new normal and we don’t know when we will be able to meet physically for meetings,” said CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka.

All legislative committees, too, are contemplating to hold their meetings through applications to fulfill statutory requirements. Panels like Public Accounts Committee and Estimates Committee of the Assembly and the Council, too, are planning to hold their virtual meetings. Officials of the Telangana legislature told this newspaper that all such virtual meetings will have legal sanctity. Not only TDP, even the Jagan Mohan Reddy government, too, will celebrate its first anniversary in power through applications or with limited number of leaders across the state. Jagan took over as Chief Minister on 30 May last year and the government has plans to celebrate the event on a larger scale. In Telangana, the state formation will be celebrated on 2 June, but now that event too will be held on a low-profile due to the Covid outbreak.