It is rare for any government to fight trench battles with the Opposition, marked by pre-electoral fervour, within the first four months of its new term. By opting to place Leader of the Opposition and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu under house arrest, besides detaining a plethora of other Telugu Desam leaders and cadre in a bid to foil a tame protest call, chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has perhaps attenuated the aura of his own victory.
It was political maladroitness on the part of Mr Reddy to grant such a quick lease of hope to a vanquished rival, who had been punished by an angry electorate of Andhra Pradesh with the worst of amercements in a democracy — irrelevance. Misinterpreting the mandate as a licence for the pursuit of a vendetta, Mr Reddy has just brought Mr Naidu back to public attention, and heightened political relevance. With his words and actions, Mr Reddy reveals himself to be an exasperated and overzealous greenhorn rather than an evolved statesman the people had hoped, and believed, he had transformed into.
People voted for the YSR Congress Party, expecting it to focus on the economy, create jobs and offer a relatively better administration, marked by lesser corruption. Instead, by seemingly focussed solely on undoing his rival's every act, decimating the TDP beyond the scrimmage of elections, the government is rapidly losing the narrative. A mood of disappointment is fast setting in.
Mr Reddy would do better by taking a leaf out of his father's book, of ignoring the Opposition after elections, and focus on delivering economic growth, development and welfare to people. Let the Opposition protest. A government which delivers to people has nothing to worry about.