6 Reasons Why Andhra People Rejected Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP

Chandrababu Naidu - Sakshi Post

Chandrababu Naidu bragged till the other day that he was 1000% sure that the TDP would win 150 seats in the 175 member Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly in the elections held on April 11.

The statement only reflects how distanced he and his coterie of ministers, advisers and party leaders were, from ground reality. In spite of all his tall talk, his emphasis on development (which was non-existent), voters rejected the TDP outright and reposed their confidence in the YSR Congress Party led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy giving him a massive mandate.

Ironically, the figure Chandrababu and many of his party leaders predicted for the TDP, came true of the YSRCP which won 151 seats in the final tally. Chandrababu’s image, both at the state level as well as the national stage, took a severe beating.

This is the first time the TDP under his leadership went to an election on its own strength and the result is there for all to see. The party lies in tatters and he would have to stitch it back bit by bit. Here are five top reasons why Chandrababu slid down the slope in people’s eyes into an abyss of steep political decline, bordering on irrelevance:

Multiple U turns

Chandrababu Naidu‘s constant swinging from one stand to another on various issues, particularly with respect to special category status to Andhra Pradesh, is one of the top reasons for his downfall. He came to be referred to as the U-turn man in Indian politics.

Earlier, he hailed PM Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley commending them for the special package given to Andhra Pradesh, which he said was better than SCS to the state. Chandrababu got a resolution passed in the assembly heaping praises on the Prime Minister and BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

When the heat was turned on him by YSR Congress party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on the issue of special category status, saying that the people of AP would not compromise on the subject, Chandrababu was forced to make a U-turn. He pretended to project himself as a champion of SCS and walked out of the NDA coalition in 2018. However, the people of the state saw through his game.

Mismatch between words and deeds

The TDP chief did not deliver on any of the 600+ election promises he made in 2014. When YSR Congress party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy pointed to this repeatedly during the course of his 3648 km long walkathon through the state, the TDP took its 2014 manifesto off its website leading to further erosion of its credibility.

Chandrababu‘s claims of development were not matched by action on the ground. He spoke of a world-class capital in the form of Amaravati. Beginning with the location of the capital to awarding contracts to his crony contractors, the entire capital saga was a non-starter riddled with corruption.

Today, we find weeds growing around the foundation stone laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the construction of the new capital. The much talked about capital which did not take off and for which thousands of crores have been spent, caused a lot of heartburn among farmers whose 33,000 acres of fertile land had been forcibly acquired in many cases, on the banks of river Krishna.

Polavaram project was another endless saga of corruption according to many observers, leading PM Modi to describe it as an ATM for Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP. With little to show for, Chandrababu tried to trumpet the project as a major achievement ferrying thousands of villagers from all over Andhra Pradesh in APSRTC buses at government cost, making it seem like a tourist attraction trying to convince the masses that work on Polavaram was afoot.

Corruption, casteism and cronyism

Chandrababu Naidu‘s term from 2014-19 came in for sharp criticism with probably more corruption charges than any other politician in recent times. Amaravati, Polavaram and other irrigation projects, sand mining mafia, Janmabhoomi committees, commissions and kickbacks in every contract which was given, all these factors contributed significantly to his downfall.

Both the TDP chief and his son Nara Lokesh were seen as fountainheads of corruption and nepotism by political observers. Chandrababu‘s preference for his Kamma associates in awarding contracts, his choice of members of his community in officialdom and elsewhere added to denting his image.

His preferred media megaphones, commonly referred to by YSRCP leaders as yellow media outlets harmed his image rather than contribute positively to it, by trying to blame everything on the YSRCP and hiding the smallest failing of Chandrababu and his men.

It did not help his cause in any way that most of these media outlets belonged to people of his community and were seen as being very close to him and by extension, his mouth pieces. Importantly, the Kamma community constitutes only 5% of the population.

Neglect of BCs, SCs, STs and Minorities

With his overwhelming preference for members of his own Kamma community in everything ranging from award of contracts and jobs to official postings, the neglect of other dominant social groups in the state became glaring during Chandrababu‘s tenure. BC communities felt neglected as did SCs, STs and minority groups.

The TDP chief’s token measures towards the fag end of his rule did not convince anyone. For instance, he made Kidari Sravan, son of the slain tribal MLA and minister, Kidari Sarveswara Rao, his cabinet colleague, knowing that he would have to be made a legislator in six months. After Chandrababu failed to do so, the young tribal minister had to resign.

Atrocities against Dalits and women

There was widespread criticism against Chandrababu Naidu and his party leaders that atrocities against dalits and women had risen sharply under his watch. For example, on December 18, 2017, a Dalit woman was allegedly beaten up and stripped over a land dispute at Jerripothulapalem in Visakhapatnam. The incident was widely reported in the media, and though a case was booked, further action was not forthcoming from the TDP government.

A video of TDP MLA from Denduluru in West Godavari district Chintamaneni Prabhakar, in which he was seen abusing Dalits, went viral causing widespread outrage. The controversial TDP MLAs had earlier abused and dragged a lady MRO, Vanajakshi, who reportedly tried to check sand mining activities of then legislator and his followers. These are but a couple of instances out of what had become a norm under TDP, villagers say.

Chandrababu Naidu tried gimmicks like including the Kapu community in the list of groups which enjoy reservations, but the people saw through his game clearly. His ploy to field Pawan Kalyan as a Kapu leader mainly to divide the YSR Congress Party vote, did not yield any results in the final analysis.

Unemployment, Disquiet Among Farmers, Women, Youth and Employees

While the yellow media and the TDP publicity wing spoke of development and job creation, on the ground youth were getting increasingly restless about scarcity of jobs in the government as well as private sector.

Chandrababu’s much publicised investor summits proved to be flop shows in the end.

The TDP chief put the squeeze on recruitments in state government, and at the same time there was no job creation in the private sector.

Farmers were at the receiving end with scarcity of irrigation water, spurious seeds supplied to them, no loan waivers and worse, harassment by banks for payment of dues.

Women felt betrayed by the TDP and DWCRA self-help groups were hounded by banks for repayment of loans which Chandrababu Naidu had promised to waive at the time of 2014 elections.

Government employees felt cheated in departments across the state. Contract employees who were promised regularisation of services found themselves facing the threat of being axed. An indifferent TDP government couldn’t care less.

All these points factors and many more were highlighted by YSR Congress party leaders and mainly by its president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy throughout Chandrababu‘s rule. People of Andhra Pradesh found in YS Jagan a voice which spoke for them and their problems and delivered their verdict clearly on April 11, trusting him as a man who is true to his word.

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