Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Andhra Pradesh politics is getting heated up by the day, with all the political parties into one-upmanship. Even as the Leader of the Opposition and YSR Congress Party Chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, is carrying on with his fight for Special Category Status (SCS) through the ongoing Praja Sankalpa Yatra, Chandrababu Naidu is upping the ante for the battle against BJP on the same issue.

With the YSRCP MPs resignation card in hand, YS Jagan also countered Jana Sena President Pawan Kalyan's call for no confidence motion in Parliament against the NDA government. This turned out to be a bigger blow to the TDP which was under the assumption that the YSRCP will find itself on the back foot after Jana Sena's call.

Chandrababu's political bankruptcy was evident when he mentioned that Pawan Kalyan is TDP's friend. Moreover, when the Jana Sena chief called for moving a no confidence motion, Chandrababu struggled to come to terms with this call and slowly
tried to turn the tables on YS Jagan.

The TDP was under the impression that YS Jagan will not speak against the Centre and Modi, but his criticism over the centre's reluctance to give SCS has clearly shocked Chandrababu. Moreover Pawan Kalyan never questioned the TDP, but kept challeng
ing the YSRCP when he raised the no confidence vote issue. Suggesting that the entire drama is well-orchestrated, Chandrababu also never questions Pawan's intentions. All these point to the fact that they been operating hand-in-glove.

If Pawan Kalyan had truthfully called for moving a no confidence motion in Parliament then why didn't he challenge and give a deadline to TDP. He should have been gracious enough to appreciate and join hands with YSRCP after the party's senior leader Ambati Rambabu announced that on March 21 their party will put move the no confidence motion against the NDA government at the Centre.

On the other hand, Chandrababu's behaviour is being suspected by public for his soft stance towards the centre and the BJP. While pretending to act tough against the BJP ,
he has asked Ashok Gajapati Raju and Sujana Chowdhary to continue in Modi's cabinet. Similarly he didn't utter a word on his party MPs resignations or on the proposed no confidence motion by the YSRCP.

The TDP chief's stature would have skyrocketed if only he had questioned the Centre
on why it proposed a Special Package to AP and not SCS. Now, sensing the people's sentiment for SCS, he is criticising the centre and questioning it "when many other states in the country have been given SCS, why not AP?" But he lost the opportunity to prove that he cares for the state's welfare and, in fact, is now being ridiculed by
the general public for his double-standards.

Above all, Chandrababu questioned if SCS was sanjeevani (lifeline) for the state. He had proudly mentioned that unlike any leader in the country he had got huge amount of funds for the state and with Special Package, the state would flourish. But now he has changed his stance and is saying that the Centre has not given any fund to AP. In fact he got his MPs and MLAs to speak against the BJP.

It is startling to know that under the Special Package, the Centre will give funds to the extent of Rs 12,000 crores while the state is demanding Rs 16,000. The central government has been giving Rs 3000 crores per year for the state, which is much lesser than the amount spent on any of the fanciful schemes that Chandrababu initiates. But if the state is been given SCS, under the tax benefits and subsidies, it will be benefited with more than Rs 3000 crores.

Countering the claims of TDP, the state BJP also came up with a list of what the Centre had done for the state, but that went unnoticed because no national leader from BJP took up this issue. If a national leader had brought the list out, Chandrababu would have had to answer it officially. Similarly, state BJP's Somu Veerraju has been questioning the misuse of central funds, but his statements do not take prominence since it was the duty of union ministers to question about the utilization of funds. Surprisingly, the central government is silent on all these matters. Can small time state leaders take on the mighty, media savvy and manipulative Chandrababu?

Astonishingly Pawan Kalyan, who had expressed his solidarity for the fight against centre to achieve SCS is now not talking about it. Instead he is trying to chalk out a balance sheet on the funds received from Centre and spent by the
state. On the other hand he is joined by Jai Prakash Narayan who is indirectly mentioning that there is no need to question the TDP government on funds. They should realize that it is political suicide for the leaders to come in support of Chandrababu.

Having understood the people's reaction, Pawan has been trying his best to prove that he is anti-TDP and anti-Chandrababu. People are criticizing him for trying to divert their attention from the main issues. They are aware that Pawan was trying to build a different image among the people, but was openly supporting the TDP.

Of late the TDP seems to have understood that people are not taking them seriously anymore and are being branded as a party without any clear stance. In order to go for an image makeover, the TDP is making feeble attempts to play up the SCS card. Earlier
Naidu had commented that a party without proper representation will not be invited for talks on SCS, but now the CM seems to have changed his stance even on this topic and his now calling all the organisations for a debate on SCS. Despite his attack on the BJP, Chandrababu is careful not to criticise Modi at any point.

Though Chandrababu seems to be afraid to criticise Modi, he has given freedom to his MPs to talk against the PM. The CM is trying to play multiple roles, confuse people and take political advantage of all these. As part of this scheme, he had been talking about Special Package for the state and now SCS.

In the final analysis, it is a victory for the people. Chandrababu had to bow down to general public's aspirations. But he will not be trusted unless he gets his MPs to resign as well as support the no confidence motion in Parliament that is being moved on March 21. On the contrary, people are reposing faith in YS Jagan for standing by his word for the state's welfare.