Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The issue of Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh has taken a new turn with the acceptance of the resignations of the five YSR Congress Lok Sabha MPs, by the Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan. YSRCP MPs Mekapati Rajamohana Reddy (Nellore), YV Subba Reddy (Ongole),Varaprasad (Tirupati), P. Midhun Reddy (Rajampet) and YS Avinash Reddy (Kadapa) met the Lok Sabha Speaker again on Wednesday and insisted on the acceptance of their resignations, following which Mahajan was left with no option. They were asked by the Speaker to submit letters of resignation reconfirming their decision which they readily agreed to.

When it became apparent that the resignations of the the YSRCP MPs would be accepted by the Speaker, the TDP MPs and their leader, Chandrababu Naidu, launched a campaign of slander against them. The TDP MPs and leadership alleged that the YSRCP MPs were enacting a drama and that they had resigned to avoid bypolls. The point here is that while the YSRCP MPs had resigned their Lok Sabha seats for SCS to AP, the TDP MPs, instead of following suit, are resorting to false propaganda and a campaign of lies. This is the diabolical aspect of the TDP's functioning.

It must be said that this is true of the TDP's style of functioning. It has always resorted to such unethical ways. Chandrababu, who said that SCS needed to be granted for 15 years, later changed his tune to say that a Special Package was better than SCS. He even posed the question whether states with SCS were in a better state than the rest. Chandrababu tried to suppress the voice of Leader of the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and other leaders and the common people at large.

Chandrababu even questioned YS Jagan when the latter called for moving a No-Confidence motion against the NDA government. The very next day, to the astonishment of everyone, Chandrababu Naidu announced that the TDP would move a no-trust motion. On the issue of resignations of MPs, Chandrababu launched a campaign of calumny. He would till now, cast doubts on the reason for the Speaker not accepting the resignations.

The crowning irony is that Chandrababu Naidu, who has poached

23 YSRCP MLAs with scant respect to the office of the Speaker, is proving over and over again that he can stoop any depths in public discourse. He can also incite his party leaders to do so. Now that the resignations of the YSRCP MPs have been accepted, Chandrababu Naidu has started singing a new tune. He says that the YSRCP has taken care to see bypolls are not held!

There is no clarity on by-elections yet. As per reports, bypolls need to be held in some other Lok Sabha constituencies across the country and once the Speaker moves in the matter, the Election Commission may announce bypolls. Chandrababu Naidu has already announced his decision to contest the bypolls. In truth, if the TDP MPs had also resigned as the YSRCP chief, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, suggested, there would have been a major political upheaval and the matter would then have become a hot topic of discussion across the country. The Modi government would then have come under tremendous pressure.

When NTR gave a call for resignations as chairman of the National Front, in the wake of Bofors scam, 104 MPs from all opposition parties, including TDP, submitted their resignations. These mass resignations at that time, led to a political earthquake. The Congress could not come back to power after this blow. Similarly, had all the MPs of Andhra Pradesh resigned, the situation would have been different. In the past, at the time of the Telangana struggle, when there were only two MPs representing the TRS, MPs from the Congress staged a protest sitting on the steps of the parliament.

Chandrababu cannot think beyond his own selfish political objectives. His reputation as an unstable, inconsistent politician is becoming increasingly evident.

Chandrababu's U-turns have served the BJP well. If bypolls are held, the TDP and other parties should not put up candidates against YSRCP contestants. In the past, in the case of Telangana, when the TRS MPs and MLAs resigned their seats at the height of the struggle, other parties put up their candidates against TRS, which harmed its cause.

On December 9, 2009, however, the announcement regarding Telangana was made. When the Congress dragged its feet for over four years on the issue, the people of the state reposed their faith in TRS this time around, recognizing the sacrifice made by TRS MPs and MLAs. Similarly, it is up to the Telugu Desam to take a call on whether to honour the popular sentiment on Special Category Status to the state.

Chandrababu's campaign of calumny it appears, has no end. He continues to make baseless allegations claiming that the YSRCP and BJP have a secret pact, even after the YSRCP MPs have resigned and their resignations accepted. If he is a man of integrity, Chandrababu should commend the the action of the YSRCP

MPs. In case of bypolls, all political parties in the state should prove that they are one with the YSRCP MPs and back them. TDP MPs should also resign in protest against the denial of SCS to AP.