Chandrababu And YS Jagan Are Poles Apart

YSRCP Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy   - Sakshi Post

K Ramachandra Murthy

Nowhere in the country do we witness the political drama that has been played out in Andhra Pradesh. It is a war of attrition between Nara Chandrababu Naidu, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and chief of Telugu Desam Party, and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Leader of Opposition and president of YSRCP. While Chandrababu promised the voters everything under the sun assuring them of using his four decades of experience in developing the residual State, Jagan Mohan Reddy was not prepared to promise waiver of farm loans since he thought the government cannot afford to do so. He not only did not promise, he also argued in public meetings that it is not possible to keep the promise made by the TDP. Chandrababu Naidu had a tie-up with the BJP on the one hand and Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena on the other. After losing elections in 2004 which he fought in alliance with the BJP, Chandrababu Naidu emphatically said he would never ever have a truck with the BJP in the rest of his political life. After spending ten years in Opposition during which time he had the mortification of having Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), a party wedded to separate statehood, as a partner in 2009 elections which he lost, Chandrababu Naidu had to take a U-turn to make friends with the BJP once again in 2014.

The TDP won a majority of seats though the difference in the percentage of votes was less than two, and the flip-flop journey of Chandrababu Naidu started as the first chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. It has been one filled with broken promises and unmitigated disaster. From here, one can observe the number of hats that Chandrababu had changed, the number of dreams he tried to sell and the number of lies he habitually uttered. His political rival Jagan Mohan Reddy, on the other hand, was seen keeping his word and following the Constitution in letter and spirit. It has been a saga of manipulative politics versus the honest politics, a fight between the unscrupulous and the scrupulous. You do not need to belong to AP or live in India to gauge the difference. You can examine the track record of both the leaders and draw your own conclusions and award marks accordingly.

Not A Brick Laid For Amaravati

Soon after taking over as chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu had concentrated on Amaravati, the yet to be built capital of the new State. He did not focus on Special Category Status (SCS) or Polavaram, the national project. Kadapa Steel Plant and Railway zone were far from his thoughts. His whole time and energy was spent on visiting different countries in the world in order to prepare a blueprint for his dream project, Amaravati. Chandababu Naidu appointed his own panel of friends and colleagues to find a suitable place to locate the capital while the expert committee under town planning specialist KC Sivaramakrishnan was already on the job assigned by the Union government. The chief minister did not wait for the Sivaramakrishnan Committee report to be submitted. He had TDP leaders and builders in the committee with a brief to advise the government on the location of the capital city. The TDP government did not cooperate with the central committee. The

Sivaramakrishnan panel had submitted its report even before the State government-appointed committee could come up with its recommendations. Some ministers publicised that the Sivaramakrishnan panel did not recommend any particular place for the capital. Meanwhile, there were rumours deliberately spread by vested interests about the location of the capital.

The reserve forest area near Nuzvid was denotified suggesting that the capital might come up at that town. Then there was a talk of the capital city coming up at Kaza, near Nagarjuna University. People who wanted to invest in land near the future capital purchased it near Nuzvid and Kaza. Those who are privy to the critical information about the exact location of the capital bought lands where the place for the capital was ultimately announced. This amounts to insider trading for which Rajat Gupta was jailed by a New York court. Then Chandrababu Naidu spoke incessantly about Singapore saying that it is a city-State governed basing on morals and principles.

In fact, Singapore is a country which strictly implements its laws inside the country but violates international laws and principles when it comes to dealing with a foreign country. It has become a notorious place of money laundering a la Mauritius and Philippines. Jagan Mohan Reddy did not oppose the place selected by the government for building the capital. He did not even challenge the dubious Swiss Challenge method of giving contracts. He showed a lot of restraint and did not question the intentions of the government. But he criticised the TDP government for not waiving the farm loans, as promised in the election manifesto, in one go and for drastically reducing the number of beneficiaries applying unreasonable parameters.

The Opposition leader also questioned the chief minister for coming away in haste to Vijayawada (and non-existing Amaravati) from Hyderabad where the AP government could function for ten years according to AP Bifurcation Act, 2014.

Anti-Defection Law Violated At Will

While the anti-defection law was respected by Jagan Mohan Reddy, the chief minister violated it deliberately indulging in horse-trading, corruption and unscrupulous politics. While Jagan Mohan Reddy saw to it that every MLA who left the Congress to join his new party resigned from the House, Chandrababu Naidu lured with power and got 23 MLAs to defect to the TDP. He had the audacity to make four of the defectors ministers. At the time of Nandyal by-election, Jagan Mohan Reddy made Chakrapani Reddy, an MLC belonging to the TDP who wanted to join YSRCP, to resign from the House of Elders before admitting him into the party. On SCS, Chandrababu Naidu changed his stand according to his convenience. The interests of the State were subordinated to political expediency. As long as he was a partner in NDA, he did not press for SCS. He, instead, settled for a Special Package. The moment he walked out of the NDA, the chief minister started demanding SCS conveniently forgetting all he said about special package and SCS. Jagan Mohan Reddy has been demanding SCS right from the beginning. He organised a number of meetings, dharnas and protests. He went round the State addressing college students. The Opposition leader went on hunger strike demanding SCS. The YSRCP demonstrated in Delhi and raised the demand vocally in Parliament. Even in his walkathon throughout 2018, he has been demanding SCS in every meeting he addressed every alternate day.

Chandrababu Naidu had tie-ups with many parties over four decades of his politics. Every five years he changed his partners. In 1999, the first Assembly elections he faced after snatching the reins of the TDP from its founder NT Rama Rao, he parted company with the Left parties and entered into a collaboration with the BJP. He lost elections in 2004 when he declared that he would not touch the BJP with a barge-pole. In 2009, he mobilised a grand alliance with the TRS and the very same Left parties he abandoned five years back. Come 2014, he ditched the Left parties yet again and entered into an alliance with the BJP once more.

In the 2018 Telangana Assembly elections, the TDP had entered into an unholy alliance with its bete noire, the Congress party and the CPI. For the forthcoming elections in 2019, Chandrababu is sure to have the Congress as its partner in AP and Telangana. He may also invite the Left parties into his fold. Jana Sena of film actor Pawan Kalyan is likely to join the TDP bandwagon by the time the next elections take place. In contrast, the YSRCP had never had electoral tie-up with any party. YS Jagan proved to be a straight player. But Chandrababu Naidu was accusing Jagan Mohan Reddy of having a secret understanding with the Congress which had tried to ruin his political career. This unreasonable and unethical propaganda was carried on throughout the campaign with the help of friendly media.

In the 2014 election campaign, the TDP chief was attacking the Congress for having unscientifically bifurcated the State doing a lot of injustice to the people of Andhra Pradesh. He used to dub the YSRCP as the ‘Child Congress’ and the Congress party as the ‘Mother Congress.’ (Pilla party, Talli party). Now he started another campaign of calumny stating that the YSRCP has clandestine relationship with the BJP and the TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti). Known for his manipulative skills, Chandrababu is indulging in mudslinging at the YSRCP and trying to establish a link, which is not there, between YSRCP and the BJP with a view to distancing the Muslim voters from Jagan Mohan Reddy by sowing in their minds doubts about his secular credentials.

Double Standards, Opportunistic Politics

Jagan Mohan Reddy did not indulge in name calling or attacking the top Congress leaders like Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi even after they foisted false cases by abusing the CBI and made him spend 16 months in jail denying him bail which would not normally take more than three months.Chandrababu Naidu who was a partner in NDA government in Delhi and Amaravati for four years, has been making all kinds of allegations, after exiting the coalition, against Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking—why does Modi want to visit AP which he ruined by denying funds, assistance and special status. He has been working overtime to create ill-will for Modi among the people of AP.

Till he left NDA, he was calling Sonia Gandhi an Italian Mafiosi and Rahul a ‘Pappu’. Chandrababu Naidu took strong objection to the virulent language used by Telengana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) but kept smiling when Anantapur MP JC Diwakar Reddy was foulmouthing Jagan Mohan Reddy in a vulgar display of unacceptable verbal assault. Knowing very well that his government does not have funds to construct a steel factory at Kadapa, he does not mind conducting a colourful ceremony of laying foundation stone for the same.

The AP chief minister is known to be a skilled craftsman of optics. He inaugurated Pattiseema several times and celebrated Polavaram at every small turn. He claims to have developed Hyderabad single-handedly while the fact is that the city has been evolving over decades in spite of the governments. He released white papers containing black lies without any hesitation. The white papers invariably claimed that AP is the number one State in the country in every aspect. While claiming to be doing so well, he should not complain against the Centre for not releasing funds. In the last four and half years, Chandrababu Naidu did not lay a single brick for the construction of Amaravati but he does not stop claiming that he is building a world class city. Jagan Mohan Reddy never made any claim to something he did not accomplish.

YS Jagan is not the sort of a politician to use every opportunity to further his political interests by making wrong claims. For instance, on October 25, when he was attacked by a knife-wielding young man, Srinivas, at Vizag international airport, Jagan Mohan Reddy discarded his shirt with blood stain, wearing a fresh one and walked away cheerfully greeting everyone around him and went to Hyderabad to go to a hospital. A politician from Chandrababu Naidu’s school would have made a hue and cry at the spot to get political mileage and sympathy. When Chandrababu Naidu was wounded in a Naxalite attack at Alipiri in 2003, the then Opposition leader YS Rajasekhar Reddy, father of Jagan Mohan Reddy, travelled all the way from Hyderabad to Tirupati, met Chandrababu and sat on dharna at Gandhi statue protesting against the violent methods used by the extremists.

When Jagan Mohan Reddy was injured in the attack at Vizag airport, Chandrababu Naidu did not call the Opposition leader at least on phone to inquire about his condition and held an ugly media conference in the evening calling the incident fake and alleging that it was stage-managed to gain sympathy. The chief minister could not rise up to the occasion and behave in a responsible manner.

To sum up, the two leaders are poles apart. While Chandrababu Naidu claims to be principled while practising unprincipled politics, indulging in corruption and violating the Constitution, Jagan Mohan Reddy practised principled politics without making any tall claims. Chandrababu Naidu promised something which he could not deliver (waiver of farm loans) while Jagan Mohan Reddy did not promise something which he thought he would not be able to fulfill. The chief minister made a mockery of anti-defection law admitting into the TDP 23 MLAs who won the elections on YSRCP tickets. On SCS, Chandrababu Naidu had changed his stance several times depending on whose company he is in. The chief minister carried on with opportunistic politics unabashedly while the younger poltician would not think of doing anything inappropriate. Chandrababu Naidu was accused by many of throwing persons away after making use of them, Jagan Mohan Reddy is known for excusing those who committed mistakes and keeping them with him.

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