Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made a rather bizarre statement recently. Coming from a politician with 40 long years of experience in politics, it seemed stranger still and caused all-round consternation. He said that people should feel ashamed of themselves if they do not vote for Chandrababu Naidu in the forthcoming assembly elections.

What do we ascribe Chandrababu's odd statement to? Over-ambitiousness of power? Pride? Or the fear of defeat? It is difficult to put one's finger on the trigger behind his bizarre and outlandish statement, but he made a statement which is unbecoming of a chief minister, to say the least. One cannot help term Babu speaking to voters in a threatening tone patently undemocratic.

Chandrababu Naidu claims to have contributed a lot to the development of the state. Therefore, people should vote for him alone, he says. If they don't, they ought to be ashamed of it, he added. Does this make sense? Shouldn't the congress party which was responsible for projects such as Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam, also be making such claims? In a democracy, people elect a party based on its ideology and the appeal it has for them. That does not mean that people ought to feel ashamed of voting for a particular political party. For that matter, TDP lost the elections twice under Chandrababu. He himself lost at the hustings, but he was voted to power again.

By his weird logic Chandrababu is saying that just because the Congress had scored over TDP, people ought to feel ashamed for having voted for him? He is a past master at turning situations to his advantage. As a Telugu saying goes, the tongue is so flexible that it turns any which way.This is apt of the Telugu Desam chief.

Coming to his claims, did Chandrababu achieve as much as he claims he did? Did his government implement the promises and points spelt out in the election manifesto? If Chandrababu Naidu were to come forward and demonstrate to the media in a detailed way, as to how many points in the manifesto have been implemented, things would become clear. We will know whether people ought to feel ashamed for not voting for Chandrababu in the forthcoming elections or for having voted for him in the previous elections.

What did Chandrababu Naidu promise about loan waivers before the elections? What did he do after coming to power? Does it not amount to cheating the people? What were his assurances on loan waivers to DWCRA women? Babu for job was his pre-election slogan. What has happened to that promise? Does this not amount to betrayal of promises? There is a long catalogue of such unfulfilled promises, considering the fact that Chandrababu Naidu made more than 600 promises. Is it enough to claim that he has acted on all his election promises?

Didn't Chandrababu Naidu promise to complete the first phase of Amaravati by 2018? Why is he trying to fool the people of Andhra Pradesh saying that a model capital for AP is coming up? A government is an institution which acts continuously, whatever it does, is done with public money. The point here is the number of promises made by the Telugu Desam party to achieve power —the unending lies and deception.

What about the TDP government's moral fibre? Take the case of corruption charges. Did the CAG raise objections relating to corruption to the tune of Rs. 400 crores? Didn't Amaravati turn into a massive real estate venture? Can't everyone see the Polavaram imbroglio? Is it not a fact that 22 Opposition MLAs of YSRCP were bought over spending crores of rupees? Isn't making some of them ministers a shameful thing? Isn't the issue of black money spent on the Nandyal elections something to be ashamed of? Can Chandrababu Naidu respond to these questions with his hand on his heart and claim that his brand of politics is a role-model for others? Coming to Godavari Pushkarams tragedy —the loss of 29 lives, not filing a case against the guilty and the disappearance of the CCTV footage —aren't these enough to make one feel ashamed? To resort to falsehoods and invite criticism that Chandrababu is deluding the masses with fake promises —is this not something to be ashamed of? Or does he think it is something to be proud of? What has happened to the issue of special category status? What about Chandrababu's attempts to muzzle the media? Why is he trying to prevent some television channels from being aired? What is one to say about his act of paving the way for his son by inducting him into the cabinet? Should Chandrababu take pride in naming twenty schemes —something unprecedented —after himself, something which is not done when a person is still living? In the light of all this, it hardly needs to be reiterated whether one should feel ashamed for voting for Telugu Desam or for not voting for it!