By S Gopinath Reddy
Is the ruling Telugu Desam Party indecisive in its strategy on achieving Special category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh? Is its leadership in a state of confusion on how to deal with the issue? Is Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu more worried about the main Opposition YSR Congress Party than focusing on the SCS issue? Going by the recent developments, it appears to be so.
Pratyeka Hoda Sadhana Samithi has given a call for Andhra Pradesh bandh on April 16. Most Opposition parties including the YSRCP have extended their complete support to build pressure on the reluctant Central government. YSRCP has openly announced that it would support anyone who fights for the SCS.
This is where the TDP seems to have chickened out. Chandrababu Naidu has openly ruled out any support to the bandh call by stating that such protest programmes would cause only loss to the state of Andhra Pradesh.
One must look at the form of protest and reason for the proposed protest programme. The bandh call was not given for any political mileage but for the larger interest of the state. The much sought after SCS has become an emotional issue as well. The Special Package drama vanished into thin air. In fact, the central government announced that it will extend special assistance to Andhra Pradesh. There is nothing called Special Package.
The Special Package phrase was coined by the TDP government and kept in circulation as if the State would prosper with the special assistance. Once people realized that Special Package or Special Assistance, actually brought little or no assistance to the state as a whole, the TDP 'walked out' of the NDA. It resorted to launching or staging a new drama.
The chief minister yesterday said that “we should fight with the Centre. If required we should go to Delhi as many times as possible”. Ironically, it was the same Chandrababu Naidu who said that “being a partner of NDA I had visited New Delhi about 30 times, but the Centre cold shouldered the state.” While in NDA he could not get any dividends out of his numerous trips to Delhi. The question is why would the Centre even listen to him now?
On the other hand, YSRCP is continuing its struggle for achieving separate statehood for the region. Party MPs have resigned and staged hunger strike in Delhi for six days before being shifted to hospital forcibly. Back home, party cadres have been protesting on the streets by staging different agitational programmes.
While the state is looking at Delhi for SCS, the chief minister preferred to go to Singapore for “attracting investments”. A few days earlier, he even talked about Happy City and chalks out an ambitious plan. Amaravati is on paper.. projects are on paper… industries are on paper… promises made during elections have been ignored… dash board doesn’t reflect the true picture. E-governance is becoming a myth… farmers are under severe stress… unemployed youth are dejected… but, the chief minister talks about Happy City and wants to go to Delhi several times more… No one seems know why...least of all Chandrababu himself.