Hyderabad, May 10: More than three decades after its formation, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh is keen to spread its wings to secure the national party tag to enhance its political leverage on the back of support from Telugus in other southern states.
At present in power in Andhra Pradesh and being a major opposition in Telangana, TDP has already initiated the process on how it can go about to realise its aspirations. "We are studying the issue.
A decision has been taken. We are studying what are the requirements as per law and also the vacuum available to us politically," former TDP MLA and senior party leader Payyavula Keshav told PTI here.
TDP's Politburo at a recent meeting, chaired by party President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, decided to launch membership drive in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and also Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
TDP has appointed a three-member committee, headed by senior leader and Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu, to study on the steps and strategies required to make it a national party.
Keshav, a member of this panel, said there has been a demand from the party's supporters in states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to start functioning there. "It won't be an easy thing to make entry.
The party's priority in those states would be to promote the interests of that particular state. For example, it will totally work for Tamil Nadu in that state," he said.
On what prompted the TDP to try to become a national party, he said it is the need of the hour in the wake of last year's bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. "We have to be a national party to function in the new states," he said.
States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Odisha have a large Telugu-speaking population and TDP's supporters in those states have been actively conducting various activities, albeit on a low key, according to party leaders.
Keshav admitted that it would take time to make inroads, contest elections in the new states and emerge as a key player. On Samajwadi Party's election symbol being cycle, the same as TDP, and how this matter would be addressed, Keshav said such issues need to be studied along the way.
Founded by legendary actor N T Rama Rao in 1982, TDP created history of sorts by storming to power in Andhra Pradesh within nine months of its formation.
The party is a constituent of the ruling NDA at the Centre and also shares power with BJP in the state.