Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

A new trend has emerged in Andhra Pradesh. Every other day someone or the other has to felicitate state Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu or he would be invited to a gathering where he sermonizes to the gathering. All this is at the expense of the AP government. It is a common practice for political parties to hold rallies during the election season, but when these are organized using government funds, it becomes an unhealthy practice. It is very clear that the government machinery including IAS officers have fallen to the lowest levels.

The government has hiked the salaries of some sections of employees and in this context, there is no issue in the government officers meeting the CM and thanking him for the gesture. But this time we have seen the government employees felicitating the CM. Earlier when the salaries of the Anganwadi workers were raised, state-wide workers were ferried to the CM’s residence in Undavalli at the cost of government. Again recently, we saw a repeat of this at the VRS thanksgiving function. Employees from all over the state were brought to Vijayawada for the felicitation programme and Rs 300 per head, paid. All this it must be noted, was at government expense. Is this what governance is all about?

TDP founder NTR had always warned the government officials against the misuse of public money. He had been time and again reminding everyone that government was just the custodian of public money. When NTR became CM, he accused Congress leaders of blatantly misusing public money and tried to be prudent in spending government money. He made do with one camp office and a small convoy.

On the contrary, Chandrababu who grabbed the CM's post and TDP from the hands of NTR operates from over half a dozen camp offices. The AP CM and family also stay in five star hotels at the cost of government exchequer. He only moves around in private aircraft. Whose money is he spending? Is it not people’s money? Chandrababu has to remember that he is merely a trustee of public money and nothing more. As if all these were not enough, every day there is a grand felicitation programme for the CM and a huge gathering of people has to be arranged for the programmes.

Earlier, Congress leaders also never ventured into such level of misuse of government funds and also never tried to preach to people. But Chandrababu preaches to people while he is involved in gross misuse of government money. In fact, during the years 1995-2004 he was a touch better. Age or  insecurity about loss in elections, could be responsible for Chandrababu's behaviour and the reason why he is committing more mistakes. While spending public money for personal gains, he has been claiming to be providing sincere governance and he is trying to convince people on this.

Moreover no CM who is alive would have named more than 20 welfare schemes of his government after himself. Chief Ministers of yesteryears were shy to name government schemes after themselves. Even the TDP founder NTR, despite ruling the state for seven and half years never dared to do such things. But Chandrababu has a pattern of behaviour which runs contrary to TDP philosophy. We find even old timers in the party  objecting to many things. Finally, we can understand to what level politics has been degraded when we look at the way Chandrababu asks people to felicitate him. This is the misfortune of the people of AP.