No Elbow Room For U-Turn Uncle?

23 Apr, 2018 17:36 IST|Sakshi
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu

B Krishna Reddy

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu undertook a 12-hour fast which in his book might have been an interminable period. On Friday April 20, when the AP chief minister marked his 68th birthday in Vijayawada with a seemingly protest fast to seek justice for Andhra Pradesh as he put it, who did he think he fooled? Certainly not the people of the state nor the media, and worse, most definitely not the Centre. The hunger strike was dubbed 'Dharma Porata Deeksha' or 'Fight for Justice'. Chandrababu seems to forget that till very recently, his Telugu Desam party was an ally of the BJP in the NDA at the Centre. Two of his MPs were ministers in the Central cabinet as well. The TDP was the BJP’s biggest ally down south.

Fight for Justice or Repentance For Opposing SCS

Over these four years, Chandrababu Naidu seems to have forgotten the significance of SCS to Andhra Pradesh. The crowning irony of it all is that the Telugu desam party chacterised Naidu's fast as a ‘Dharma Porata deeksha’ or ‘fight for justice’. But it would have made more sense if he had described it as 'penance' or 'contrition' fast, a 'repentance or paschyataapa deeksha' undertaken by him for his repression of the movement for SCS to Andhra Pradesh, which was spearheaded by the YSRCP, activist groups, Left parties and student groups. Why did he crack down on activists, supporters, YSRCP leaders and cadre and workers of other political parties who had been waging a fierce struggle for SCS to the state? He used all the power in his means to suppress the movement over these four years and his government, implicated students and activists in many cases across Andhra Pradesh. Can the youth of A.P ever forget the iron hand with which Chandrababu suppressed the Vizag protest on January 26, 2017 for APSCS? In an unprecedented display of state power, Chandrababu Naidu prevented Leader of Opposition in A.P, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy from staging a protest and stopped him at the airport itself!

Flips And U-Turns

Yet another ironical aspect is the question raised by Chandrababu Naidu with regard to the resignation and subsequent indefinite fast undertaken by YSRCP MPs for SCS to AP, in New Delhi. Naidu went on record to ask whether such a fast served any purpose! Curiously enough, Chandrababu Naidu sat on a hunger strike himself. There is a pattern to his U-turns. However, what the pattern does reveal is a lack of clarity on his part, a series of moves aimed only to deceive the common masses and at times to catch the eye of the media. He criticised the very idea of SCS to AP and claimed it was no magic cure or Sanjeevini. His U-turn came years later—today he claims he had always been advocating the cause of SCS to AP from the very beginning. The YSRCP led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asked him to come forward and support its No-Confidence motion against the NDA government. After realizing that the Opposition party had stolen the thunder on SCS, Chandrababu instead of supporting YSRCP, came up with his party's own motion! He derided the indefinite fasts undertaken by YSRCP MPs for SCS. Chandrababu's next U-turn was not long in coming. He himself undertook a fast on his birthday on April 20.

Naidu's earlier statement that the YSRCP-led bandh had caused Rs 12 crore loss to the APSRTC, returned to haunt him last Friday. Chandrababu Naidu’s fast is reported to have cost the state around Rs 30 crore, with ACs and coolers, butter milk for the attendees, not to speak of security arrangements. A question posed to Chandrababu Naidu over the last three days has been—when you asked others to go to Delhi and stage protests, why didn't you follow what you preach? Clearly, he has his eye on the 2019 elections. Chandrababu Naidu's biggest and most daunting challenge yet, however, is to overcome the loss of credibility he has suffered. Unfortunately for him, there's no elbow room for any more U-turns and he finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun, which spells his political doom, more than anything else.

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