Fiction tries to make sense. Truth is burdened with no such responsibility as truth itself is a responsibility, but that everyone dreads.
George Bernard Shaw famously said that “Politics is the last resort for the scoundrel.” And hmm... that’s an interesting observation, to say the least. But then nowadays, some say that it is not the last but the first resort for many across the globe.
But for me it does appear as the last. Otherwise, why do you think I would be writing on politics? Being apolitical and generally not dabbling in politics or writing on politics, if I am resorting to write this blog, it says much – that I do not have enough assignments on hand that should keep me engaged and my mouth shut! And also that I am becoming more and more interested not in politics per se’ (I shall remain apolitical) but the management aspects of the politics are fascinating to me. Sigh...
23rd May, 2019 closed with the by and large already expected results of the parliamentary elections in India.
The citizens have given another thumping mandate to Mr. Narendra Modi and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party aka BJP. But in down south of India, from where I come, there have been interesting dynamics in play. Different players were elected in my native state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) and my foster state of Tamil Nadu (TN).
I am refraining myself to write about other states in this blog with perhaps just a peripheral mention of a few more.
So, first it’s going to be about my foster state of TN. Here the party that won with thumping majority is the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), who have forged a pre-election alliance with the now drubbed Congress party at the center and left to be the runner up. DMK, while saying that it’s not against Hindus, propagated vociferously against the Hindutva during its election campaigning and canvassed vehemently against the BJP, the party that now won with a mammoth majority at the centre. In the process, it appeared that DMK has confused itself and the electorate too.
Yet, the result is that the people in the state gave the party a mandate to represent them in the central government. But that opportunity appears to be a redundant rendering, as the party is in the opposition and really cannot bring much direct benefits to the state. Thus they would not be able to show their mettle to become victorious in the following elections for the state during the year 2021.
Meantime, the present ruling party in the state, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), has forged an understanding with the BJP. In the next couple of years, the BJP, with development projects for TN, would either support their local ally and make them stronger or make inroads into the state on their own, as BJP got dismal results in the elections on its own.
So it is a wait and watch scenario in Tamil Nadu.
Telugu, the language spoken by the people of Andhra Pradesh (and of course in Telangana too) is called the Italian of the East, as it is the ‘Ajanta Bhasha’; the language where all words end with vowels. Not only is the language compared to Italian but the Telugus are also mostly like the Italians. Sensuous, family oriented, fun loving and yet un-forgetting and can be very vindictive if they want. Forgive they may, forget they will not. They have their own rules of Omerta. They generally do not have patience to wait for justice that takes a long time in the country. For most of them, the idea of justice is just an illusion. The Congress leading family, being of Italian native, should have known and remembered this fact.
During 2014, much against the wishes of the Telugu speaking people of both the states, Congress, the then ruling party, has divided the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh of 23 districts into two states of Andhra Pradesh (residual - how I hate this word even as I am typing this) and Telangana, just to placate the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) party which was demanding a separate state, and who Congress thought would be a great ally.
The politicians of Telangana might have benefited out of this ‘forced division’ but the people of both the states never forgave or forgotten this. And interestingly, the moment the state was split, the TRS distanced themselves from Congress almost in toto. And during the past two elections, the Congress was ruthlessly pushed aside, in AP with zero gains and in Telangana scrape through with about three seats.
This is one part. The second part is really cinematic.
It is a known fact that Late Rajasekhar Reddy died in a flight crash while in harness as the Chief Minister (CM) of the undivided Andhra Pradesh, representing the Congress Party. When his widow and his daughter (mother and sister of now CM designate Mr. Y. S. Jaganmohana Reddy) went to Delhi to meet the Congress Party President, apparently they were not only made to wait but also were not given sufficient time to relate what they wanted to say and for which they came all the way from Hyderabad to Delhi for.
A furious Jaganmohana Reddy vowed to end the Congress in AP, came out of Congress and started a new party - the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). As time passed, he had been arrested on disproportionate assets cases and had been incarcerated for about a year and half in jail, during which time his new party was nurtured by his mother and sister. Once out on bail, Jaganmohana Reddy tried to strengthen his party and by bonding with the people by undertaking ‘Paada Yaatra’ (foot marching) across the state, meeting the people of all levels and is alleged to have covered over 3,600 kms in the process.
Meantime the Telugu Desam party (TDP) was elected as the first state government after the splitting of the state in 2014 with people hoping that the Party's President Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu may re-work the magic he did in turning over Hyderabad into Cyberabad and providing jobs.
But many issues plagued the TDP party and its government.
At the time of the split, Andhra Pradesh, which started on a negative budget (and Telangana on the contrary with a surplus one) was promised a Special Category Status (SCS), a promise which could not be kept up by Congress as they were out of power in the subsequent elections and which, allegedly, ‘was not’ kept by the BJP, which came to power later. A sense of déjà vu prevailed.
There have been allegations and counter allegations back and forth that the central government did not support an emerging state and the central government blaming the state for not accounting for the funds thus far released. The truth may be buried forever or till the next opportunity when one party or the other could use it as a weapon.
The biggest contention on this score being lack of required funds for the infrastructural development of a new capital necessitated out of the splitting of the state.
Like it is said that there were myriad causes and reasons for Karna’s death in the epic Mahabharatam, the decimation of the TDP, in the latest election, was due to many reasons but seems to be more self inflicted, with the cardinal error being the joining of hands with the Congress party. TDP’s supremo appears to have miscalculated the continued angry mood of people towards the Congress party for splitting the state.
article/tdp-routed-andhra- pradesh-five-reasons-led- naidu-s-downfall-102362
The second reason, perhaps, is the people’s disenchantment with the officials and their alleged corrupt practices. It is firmly believed by the majority of the public, of the state, that as the TDP was not in power for over 10 years before, the moment they came to power again, those close to the party, mostly of a particular caste who hardly are 5-6% of the total population of the state, apparently indulged in amassing wealth through contracts - syndicated or otherwise, illegal sand quarrying, real estate issues etc. Many openly criticised the chafing under the ‘oppressive caste’ and their unbridled high-handedness and utterances.
The third reason was inability to translate promises into action. While it might be true that the central funds were only trickles, credibility suffered as the leader kept on promising but pleading inability for lack of funds, while people were openly remarking the alleged corruption and amassment of wealth from public funds ans state resources.
The fourth reason could be that despite the proximity to the central government for nearly four years during which time the party, for whatever reason, could not get the central funds or a SCS for the state.
The fifth reason is while the opposition parties in the state were trying to bond more and more with the people of the state, the ruling party president was travelling more in other states working towards a coalition of all possible parties to oppose BJP and thus giving reason and vexation for the local people to feel neglected and that at the cost of state benefits, the party spent its time on an obviously unproductive national issue. The TDP president’s public speeches also apparently became more and more personal and sometimes vitriolic too.
The sixth reason could be Mr. Naidu’s style of working by micro management and continuous reviewing system. There are grumblings that many a time, the reviews are more than the work in itself. This continuous monitoring removed the responsibility from the lower echelons and put the onus onto the top management which became a terrible burden, as it has now been proven. In the wake, it also must have left quite a bit of disgruntlement among the babus!
The seventh reason is that Mr. Naidu is a non-believer (apparently) in populist schemes and did whatever such schemes almost under duress and only in the last year. The percolation effect needed time and perhaps, the time was not sufficient for the people and also the party to really benefit from the schemes fully.
I am surprised by this one action of Mr. Naidu for whose administration capability and visionary sense, I have immense admiration. How could he not read the writing on the wall? How could he not know which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn? Or has he decided that let this be the end and resigned to the fate? Only time will tell.
One thing that appears for sure is that within the state, the TDP will become a party to reckon with hardly anything anymore. As it is widely rumoured that Mr. Jaganmohana Reddy has some understanding with the central government, some of the following developments may be foreseen for the future.
Along with the Congress party, the BJP also has been almost mauled in both AP and TN, as many people in AP do believe that the central government did not support the state, when the support was badly needed and in TN several reasons are attributed like being non-dravida, rightist and then the Sterlite Industry issues etc.
Thus, the party would desperately, overtly or covertly, need to establish itself before the next elections in these states.
So, in AP, they would very likely start and release funds now, which were held back in the past few years for development work and brand such achievements among much ado and clamour and say that it is because of BJP, the development activities are happening, thus paving way for better seats and performance here for themselves.
They will also be concentrating on addressing some issues in TN like those of the farmers, the water and industrial growth, for instance.
They may attempt to resolve the long pending Cauvery issue but if my thinking is right, they will not push it too much as Cauvery is a sensitive issue, for any one’s comfort. Instead, they may extend the surplus water from Godavari to Krishna to Penna into TN (at least till Chennai), using their hold on AP government and name it as one of their achievements.
It should be borne in mind that poet Subrahmanya Bharati first wrote about connecting the rivers and later Late Atal Behari Vajpayee spoke about it. But the real credit for translation of this vision should go to Late N. T. Rama Rao of the then ruling party of AP, the TDP and the TN Government. Of course, late Indira Gandhi being from the central ruling government had to play a role of facilitation of this project called the ‘Telugu Ganga Project’.
Then came the ‘Polavaram Project’ of integrating Godavari and Krishna which was envisioned by Late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy of Congress, the then ruling party of AP and almost completed by Mr. N. Chandra Babu Naidu, with or without much support from the centre.
The industrial growth in TN became stagnant in the past few years and this may also be addressed. After all, jobs need to be provided through these industries, not only for the locals, but also for people from other states of India, where the party won, making jobs a promise.
All we have to do now is to wait and see and hope that, despite whoever gets the credit, the people shall benefit, even if people are fooled again in the process.
And in a democracy, as long as the electors and the elected are not appropriately educated, people would continue to be fooled – again and again and again; till kingdom come.
‘Lokaa samastaa sukhino bhavanthu. Sarve janaa sukhino bhavanthu. Samasta sanmangalaani bhavanthu, Aum Santhi, Santhi, Ssanthihi’
(Let the whole universe be happy and comfortable! Let all the people be happy and comfortable! Let there be prosperity all around! Let there be peace, peace and peace!)
Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Dhanyosmi (Sanskrit), Thanks (English), Dhonyavaad (Bangla), Dhanyabad (Oriya and Nepalese), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic and Sudanese), Shukriya (Urdu), Bohoma Sthuthiyi (Sinhalese) Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian), Kob Kun Krab (Thai), Asante (Kiswahili), Maraming Salamat sa Lahat (Pinoy-Tagalog-Filipino), Tack (Swedish), Fa'afetai (Samoan), Terima Kasih (Bahasa Indonesian) and Tenkyu (Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea), Malo (Tongan), Vinaka Vaka Levu (Fijian)
Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy