Deccan Chronicle


Deccan Chronicle. | DC Correspondent

Published on: March 11, 2023 | Updated on: March 11, 2023
Foxconn was forced to announce investment plans in Telangana state and Karnataka even before the final agreements were signed

Foxconn was forced to announce investment plans in Telangana state and Karnataka even before the final agreements were signed

Being outfoxed is something no one likes. Especially if it happens to be the state government itself. When the Taiwanese tech manufacturing giant Foxconn came calling to explore possibilities of investing in the south of India, it got caught in the electoral politics of the BRS and the BJP, and had to get into a quick two-step dance to assuage their hurt feelings. Normally, big companies or industries prefer to maintain secrecy on their investments until deals are finalised with the governments. But Foxconn was forced to announce investment plans in Telangana state and Karnataka even before the final agreements were signed, caught as it was in the "electoral politics" of the ruling parties in the two states going to Assembly polls this year. After Foxconn chief Young Liu met Telangana state Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on March 2, the CMO announced that Foxconn had signed an agreement to set up an electronic manufacturing facility in the state that would one lakh jobs in 10 years. The same sequence played out in Bengaluru after Young met Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai a day later, leaving Foxconn to clarify that it had not signed any final agreements. With this leaving both the BRS and the BJP red-faced, it was up to Young to save their faces and he wrote to the two CMs — without any details of proposed investments — expressing the company’s commitment to invest in both their respective states.


Officials usually have their way with their agendas. This was a lesson learnt the hard way by members of the autorickshaw drivers’ union in Hyderabad when they called for a meeting recently. The drivers were hoping that there would be good news for them — after all the price of fuels have gone up quite significantly from the last time the fares were revised. But their hopes remained just that with officials instead giving a stern talk to them on the importance of wearing their khaki uniforms, following traffic rules and, to rub salt into their wounds, why fare other than what’s shown on the meter should not be demanded. For once, the drivers left the meeting realising that they have been on the receiving end of the bureaucratic juggernaut, quite similar to the customers who are on any given day are subjected to their unreasonable demands and practices.


At the receiving end recently was AP BC welfare minister Chelluboyina Srinivasa Venugopalakrishna, MLA from Ramachandrapuram in Konaseema district. The occasion was designed to please his boss and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy with a slew of TD leaders lined up to join the YSRC. When the joinees got on to the stage is when things started going awry with them declaring that they were not from the TD but the YSRC, who in the past had supported the minister’s political rival from the constituency and Rajya Sabha member Pilli Subhashchandra Bose. Venugopalakrishna, in the meanwhile, is reported to have been busy licking his self-inflicted political wounds in his failed bid to impress Jagan Mohan Reddy by claiming he was draining the TD in his constituency.


Public meetings are like oxygen for politicians. And giving speeches for them is more or less like breathing for most common folk. So, when an opportunity presents itself, especially without any hard work required to gather people and give a speech, the temptation is too strong to resist for some. This was the case with the MLA from Bheemli M. Srinivasa Rao, who apparently sauntered into a meeting of headmasters, called by the local mandal education officer to discuss education-related issues. Once in, the MLA campaigned for the YSRC-supported MLC election candidate Seethamraju Sudhakar. This issue, when it found its way to the AP Election Commission, resulted in an inquiry by the local revenue divisional officer and in the end, the mandal education officer was given his suspension orders. Now, officials are worried about gatecrashing politicians, while opposition leaders are complaining that the government was using officials to call for gatherings that could be addressed by politicians.


When money talks, people listen with interest. This is fast becoming evident to several Congress leaders in Telangana state embarking on their own Haath Se Haath Jodo yatras. These are by no means simple affairs of going on a nice long walk, thanks to the associated costs involved to make the walk noticed and talked about. Consequently, the yatras have been burning some pretty deep holes in the pockets of these leaders. If the word emerging from those with the well-singed pockets in party circles is anything to go by, leaders are having to spend several tens of lakhs of rupees. And this way and well before elections. Cashing in on the advantage created by their leader Rahul Gandhi with his marathon cross-country walk, and gaining currency in their constituencies and newly-minted support, is apparently resulting in some early withdrawals by some Congress leaders.


All it takes is one brazen display of power to destroy a carefully cultivated image and land one in a police case. But it helps to avoid such trouble if you happen to be the BRS MLA from Yellareddy Assembly constituency. The MLA, Jajala Surender, considered "Mr Cool", suddenly found himself in a hot spot after he slapped a staffer at a private hospital in Nizamabad recently. It began when he went to the hospital to enquire about the condition of a patient from his constituency and, after apparently not receiving a "proper" response, slapped a hospital employee. Soon after, the woman patient was taken to Hyderabad for better treatment but succumbed on the way. However, the slapping incident was recorded on CCTV cameras and the clip went viral on social media. But the Nizamabad police did not register any case because the hospital and the MLA "compromised" over the incident.


Jumping political ship is not always an easy task. This is the apparent lesson that Nellore Rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy is learning the hard way. Sridhar Reddy who recently raised a banner of revolt against the YSRC, and was suitably chastised by the leadership, is not finding the going easy with his previously proclaimed desire to join the TD. While his situation in his current party is getting hotter, uncertainty over the TD’s willingness to admit him, especially with the party supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu maintaining a stoic silence on Sridhar Reddy’s plans, is only on the rise. The problem is that Sridhar Reddy had routinely slammed both Naidu, and his son Lokesh. In addition, he also faces stiff opposition from the TD’s Nellore parliamentary constituency in-charge of the party Abdul Aziz. With his little political boat in troubled waters, the YSRC MLA is waiting for a safe landing.