Where Raising The Right Query Is a Sin.....

22 Sep, 2016 18:10 IST|Sakshi
AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

By Devulapalli Amar

Lunacy ... This is AP Chandrababu Naidu’s favourite word these days. He has been using this word once too often. Now, lunacy is a word that has - by any standards imaginable - a strong connotation. His simple formula is that anything that he doesn’t like is lunacy. Only those in Government, those who are yesmen are sane and the media that seeks to highlight the acts of omission and commission and questions his rule is by his definition, a lunatic. If the management is a money-hungry lunatic, the journos working out there are salaried lunatics. The Opposition parties that question him are lunatics and those intellectuals and civil society activists who counter him are lunatics too. So, it’s a personification of the ‘My way or highway’ kind of attitude.

Emperor Chandrababu

Only recently, Chandrababu had revealed his mind that he would like to rule Andhra Pradesh for 50 years a la Singapore, where Lee’s party had an unrivalled run. Well! His son Lokesh had enough wisdom to say that barring CM’s post everything else is impermanent. This probably catalysed him to believe in the one-point formula of staying in power for the coming 50 years and being the CM all through. Now, that is a mathematical impossibility as he would be 110 years old by then. Only the other day, Chandrababu waxed eloquent about his health and his efforts to stay fit. This was done on the floor of the Assembly.

On the last day of the monsoon session, he spoke at length as to how much of an effort he makes to stay fit. One can therefore safely surmise that he might even go on to live till 110 years. Interestingly, the Constitution that we have given ourselves ordains that there be elections every five years and one becomes a chief minister only when the people back him. It’s highly unlikely that Chandrababu is unaware of this and is making statement without knowing. Jestfully speaking, will he want to get stays from the people’s court for fifty years much in the way he is getting stay orders from the court? He sure knows that’s an impossibility. And no one knows it better than Chandrababu, who has been pushed down off power pedestal twice. The voters have dashed his 2020 dram and unseated him in 2004.

He could come back to power in 2014 only courtesy Modi, Pawan Kalyan and also due to the situation arising out of AP’s bifurcation. So, the logic is stunningly simple - If he has to remain in power for another 50 years, there should be no alternative to him. Thanks to the bifurcation, the Congress is dead as Dodo. The Communists are on a continuous downward spiral and the BJP does not have enough strength to shun him. That leaves just the YSRCP and the media. Naturally Chandrababu wants to see the back of both if he has to stay in power for five more decades.

Recently at a TDP meet, he had asked the cadres with a flourish: “Tell me brothers! Does this state need YSRCP at all?” With only yesmen around, the answer was a predictable No. This man, who won at the hustings barely by 1.5 per cent majority, which works out to a paltry 4 lakh voters, argues that there is no need for the Opposition. He even made his acolytes repeat this. However, whether a party should be there or not is decided by the people and no amount of ranting and raising of hands in a controlled environment can tilt the balance. But the moot question is what must one make out of a leader who feels there shouldn’t be an opposition to raise questions and a media to grill him. How is a ruler, who brooks no opposition and wants no one to question him, described?

Is everyone a lunatic?

For Chandrababu, newspapers that question the acquisition of fertile lands that sustain three crops for capital construction, are lunatics. Someone who criticises the handing over of lands right left and centre to foreign firms in the name of Swiss Challenge is a lunatic for him. Those questioning the profligate spending of precious financial resources in the name of foreign jaunts are lunatics. Those who say that while Special Status is a right and Special Package is an alm, those who question the rationale of taking over construction of Polavaram to siphon off funds and those who highlight the irregularities galore and realty scams in the name of land acquisition for Capital city, those who are raising the issue of rampant viral affliction incidence in the state and those who are demanding that the public health sector be improved are all lunatics. If the media questions him as to why he is running scared of probe even after being nabbed in the Cash for Votes scam, it is lunacy for him. If someone says getting stay after stay to evade probe is wrong, one is a lunatic.

The CM perhaps feels that banning the non-confirmist media is the right thing. Some of his statements betray this mindset. It appears Chandrababu feels that he can decimate the Opposition if he manages to snuff out the non-pliable media. He does not want any media or political opposition that demands that the poll promises be fulfilled. In a desperate bid to woo the voters in what he himself termed as a ‘Now or Never’ battle in 2014, he went on making impractical and some highly impossible promises . Now, he finds himself at wits’ end unable to fulfil those promises and blames the media and the Opposition. One such promise is according reservations to Kapus. Now, when Kapu leaders like Mudragada Padmanabham want that the promise be fulfiled, when some go berserk and set a train on fire after Tuni Kapu Garjana, Chandrababu blames it on YSRCP. Even as the train was burning in Tuni, pat came Chandababu before the Vijayawada media to shift the blame on “goons from Rayalaseema.” He even goes to the extent of saying it was the handiwork of the leader of the opposition. When media asked him as to how he can decide who is the culprit without ever doing a preliminary investigation, he called the media lunatic. Trying to fix Bhumana Karunakar Reddy is part of the same devious gameplan.

Even as Karunakar Reddy’s questioning was on, there were inspired leaks to a favoured media house about Meher and Sudhakar Naidu’s claims on Tuni violence. People like Ambati Rambabu are questioning this obvious incogruity. A section of media wrote that the dones were bought in Hyderabad and Karunakar Reddy had financed them and quoted Naidu and Meher respectively. How did this newspaper come to know what transpired during the in-camera questioning? Well! Nothing is impossible in Chandrababu’s rule where he can fix the blame even before the probe has begun in the right earnest. The newspaper in question is known for writing what transpired at the CBI questioning of YS Jagan, when none except the CBI and Jagan are privy to what transpired during the questioning. YSRCP should remind itself that this too is part of the devious plan to finish off negative media and the Opposition.

Journalist par excellence Narla Venkateswara Rao had said in a telling poem that a newpaper is a potent medium, so potent that it can take on 10000 warriors in one go. That was said in a noble context to highlight the power of media. But, who can enlighten the management of the media that is acting as voice of the powers that me throwing media ethics to winds.

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