Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

True to form, Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, stuck to his pattern of leaks. He is persisting with his practice of leaks down to the day of the meeting of TDP members of Parliament. Chandrababu said that people of the state were angry with the Centre over the Union budget and also criticised the AP Leader of the Opposition, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. He hinted that some ministers at the Centre might resign and that some MPs might also quit parliament.

One can well imagine how ingenuous they were if anyone thought that there was any truth in this. The TDP is known for its forked approach, for the dichotomy between thought and action, for its duplicity in words and deeds. This is the Telugu Desam party of today. In the past, during NTR’s reign, things were very different. Compared to then, there has been a steep decline in the party’s values and this should worry its followers. Before the elections in 1989, under NTR, the Telugu Desam party was the principal opposition party and he cobbled together the National front and united opposition coalition back then. NTR went so far as to get his own MPs, as also those of other parties to resign over the Bofors issue. He did not believe in empty threats or in pleading with others, but in following certain methods.

In contrast, there is no such thing in the TDP today, driven as it is purely by a thirst for power and authority. Their mode of functioning is to appear to threaten, but, to implore , in reality. Chandrababu Naidu pretends to criticise the BJP as the leaks suggest, but he strikes deals behind closed doors. This is the reason why threats and boasts made by the TDP MPs are not taken seriously by analysts.

Sure enough, the Union Minister Sujana Chowdary made this very clear when he said that the TDP would not dissociate itself from the NDA. When asked about the opinions of MPs to the contrary, he said that they were airing their personal views. Around the same time , Somu Veera Raju of the BJP, who has been very critical of Chandrababu Naidu, made some sensational comments about the AP Chief Minister. He accused Chandrababu of being an extremely corrupt politician and questioned as to how a farmer with two acres to his name, could amass lakhs of crores worth assets! This is certainly a very serious matter..

Also read: Is Optical Fibre Grid A Chandrababu Charade To Muzzle Alternative Voices?

If the TDP remained helpless even after such sharp criticism, one can imagine its plight. Further, when leaders on the second rung of the BJP leadership such as Purandeswari and Kanna Lakshmi Narayana were called ‘covert agents’ of the Congress, the TDP became the target of attack for Veera Raju.

He questioned whose 'covert agents' Rayapati Sambasiva Rao who exported adulterated tobacco to China, JC Diwakar Reddy and TG Venkatesh, all of whom came to the TDP from Congress were? It appears that these leaders are in control of the Telugu Desam and seem to dominate the political scene in the party more than the others. Chandrababu Naidu and others came from the Congress party and took over
the TDP. That’s another matter altogether. However all these months, through these four years, neither Chandrababu Naidu, nor his ministers, nor his MPs spoke of the injustice done to Andhra. They did not kick up a storm over it, did they?

Did they ever try to evoke that sentiment among the masses? Then what caused
the TDP to do this U-turn? Why is it that Sujana Chowdary said that they would continue with the BJP? Has some sudden development taken place?

Did they think that a firm decision could prove costly to them? Did they get any clear hint from the BJP leadership? It is possible that the top leadership of the BJP would
have cautioned the TDP, which in turn, sent fear down the TDP leadership about the likely repercussions?

According to the first leak, Amit Shah had called the AP CM. Later, it was said that Rajnath Singh had called, in the second leak. Sujana Chowdary clarified that Amit Shah
had not made any phone call. However, one does not know the truth about the phone call said to have been made by the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh . Chandrababu Naidu's allegations about AP Leader of the Opposition and YSCRP President YS Jagan
Mohan Reddy are actually applicable to Chandrababu himself. It is he who has staged a very elaborate, interesting drama as if some significant development was to take place and tried to fool the public with his statements . In the end, his entire drama ended with a whimper. This itself is a reflection of the weak wicket he is on.

Why did BJP MPs who made tall claims about taking on the BJP and walking out of the alliance fall silent after the Parliamentary meeting of the party? One thing is clear. Chandrababu Naidu 's fight with the BJP is confined to leaks. His empty boasts
are transparent to all. It remains to be seen whether TDP MPs now decide to do something after having enacted this entire drama.