What triggered Congress to go mute on Chandrababu Naidu's arrest?

A few months ago, Congress leader KVP Ramachandra Rao had made an ardent appeal to the TDP chief to extend support to Rahul Gandhi on the disqualification issue but Naidu didn't.

What triggered Congress to go mute on Chandrababu Naidus arrest?

VIJAYAWADA: In the aftermath of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu's arrest in the skill development scam, sympathies poured in from a few political leaders across the country.

The first reaction came in from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“I don’t like the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu, if there is some mistake, you should talk and conduct an investigation. Nothing should be done to anyone vindictively,” she told during a media interaction.

After Mamata, other leaders like Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, too offered their support.

Former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav took to X saying, “The trend of arresting opposition leaders has now become a trend from the Centre to the states. Put in jail those who are not with the ruling regime, this was the policy of the autocratic rulers. There is no place for this in democracy.”

Former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah too called the Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest a “very wrong step”.

“They have arrested Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh. I think this is a very wrong step. A leader is trying to strengthen his people before the election. They think that locking him up will weaken him. I would like to tell them that locking him up will further benefit him,” Abdullah said.

All the above leaders and their parties are part of the 26 parties representing the INDIA alliance bloc. Interestingly, one of the key members in the alliance, the Congress, has maintained a stoic silence for the last five days since Naidu was arrested and neither the Central leadership nor party leaders in Andhra Pradesh have reacted to the incident.

But what could be the trigger for the Congress for going mum on the issue? In 2018, Chandrababu Naidu had snapped ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and struck an alliance with the Congress for the Telangana Assembly polls a few months later. However the move turned out to be a disaster as Naidu was decimated in Telangana by the BRS. While Naidu went alone in Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections in 2019, he met the same fate as he was left with only 23 MLAs in the 175-member Assembly.

Since then, Naidu had been desperately trying to revive ties with the BJP but the leadership has been taking things slowly.

But what about the ties with Congress? A few months ago, when Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha, Congress leaders appealed to Chandrababu Naidu to speak up against the move.

It was Congress leader KVP Ramachandra Rao who had made a ardent appeal to the TDP chief to extend support to Rahul Gandhi on the disqualification issue. Infact, he had said that the silence of YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan on Rahul’s disqualification was understandable but Naidu's silence was glaring.

“It happened to Rahul today, it may happen to you tomorrow. If you are silent today, you will lose the right to question tomorrow,” Ramchandra Rao warned.

In a twist of fate, those words indeed has now come to haunt Chandrababu Naidu. Following Naidu's silence during Rahul's disqualification, Congress leaders seem to have 'returned the favour' and are strategically remaining silent over Naidu's arrest.

But what will be problematic for Naidu is that, TDP's relationship with both the BJP and Congress seems to be on a sticky wicket and a betterment looks unlikely, at least in the near future.

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