Hyderabad: A long spell of a confrontational stalemate in Andhra Pradesh, featuring the YSR Congress government led by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and the State Election Commission led by the commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, invariably ending in court, has finally found a thaw.
People of the state, who were watching with bated breath the visceral antagonism — personal and bitter — were finally given an opportunity to speak. They spoke. And how!
The people of Andhra Pradesh, taking an unforgiving view of Chandrababu Naidu's shenanigans, tired of his obstructionism and backroom manoeuvring, have all but wiped out the Telugu Desam from the map of political relevance in the state.
Even in Naidu’s stronghold and fortress of Kuppam, a bastion he could hold even against the onslaught of late Dr Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy, has crumbled after over 30 years. More than four out of five panchayats in Kuppam now fly the flag of the YSRC, a feat unparalleled in the state’s history.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, the young Chief Minister, has trumped over the machinations of his snollygoster senior. The TD’s rout is so complete, its burial by people into the dust so undoubted that it is easy to say that Naidu’s hubris and perpetual opportunism have all but killed the party he stole from his father-in-law and founder late N.T. Rama Rao.
If the TD looks like it is still alive, and hardly it is, it is because nature abhors a vacuum and the YSRC needs some semblance of an Opposition, however moribund. Naidu, who, in his delusional calculations, wanted to simultaneously trounce the trio of enemies — Narendra Modi, K. Chandrashekar Rao and Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy — is now left with dust for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Led by wrong strategies conceived by himself, carved by his personal insecurities and inability to smell the coffee, Naidu, who like Gandhari from the Mahabharata, voluntary blindfolded himself to everything except caste and unfair gains, blinded by mammonism, lust for power and money, and an inability to resist the lure to bequeath the throne to his undeserving son, Nara Lokesh, who has never won an election involving common people, still alone in vain glory today of a legacy he could never create.
The BJP, which is watching with the appetite of a piranha, will move in swiftly, like it has in neighbouring Telangana state. It does not have to worry because it will hardly be fighting with the YSRC this term, but, instead, will only have to devour the flesh off the bones of a carcass that the TD has now become.
For Naidu, a vainglorious man used to boasting that he will spin the wheel of politics, to be left with a bicycle without a wheel is hardly the fate he would have imagined, even three years ago. The decline will now get swift.
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s welfare politics have created for the young Chief Minister public goodwill of astronomical proportions. Even if he completely fails on the development front, creating jobs or inveigling investments, and most likely he will, he is going to retain the pole position for bagging another term in power.
Naidu, who already looks desolate and lonely, will find the last of his lieutenants deserting him and his party, hardly keen to remain on a yellow Titanic. The BJP's recruitment will continue, even as Jagan Mohan Reddy will watch the traffic jam on the one-sided street with sangfroid disdain and characteristic nonchalance.
None, except the most die-hard supporters or the wooly-eyed of Naidu’s supporters, or members at the core of his cabal, will fancy his chances in an election over eight years from now, or believe Nara Lokesh can do a Jagan on AP politics.
Naidu may rue his fate in his solitude, or cutting his loses pragmatically, merge the TD with the BJP, make peace with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah with the humility of repentance, and save his people and give himself a chance to be part of a battle against his Telugu rivals — Chandrashekar Rao in Telangana state and Jagan Mohan Reddy in AP — on the winning side.
In either case, NTR will be smiling in his grave. All debts will be paid soon....