Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
The contrast between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Leader of Opposition, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s electioneering is all too evident. The other day when Chandrababu Naidu was campaigning in Tuni of East Godavari district, YS Jagan was addressing an election rally at the same time in Giddaluru of Prakasam district. People were seated on chairs under canopies in Chandrababu Naidu’s meeting and special cooling systems were placed on the stage. On the other hand, YS Jagan stood in blistering heat amidst milling crowds filling every inch of available space. It was apparent that TDP workers and sympathisers were forced to listen to Chandrababu’s lacklustre speech. The TDP supremo tried to incite the crowd on one or two occasions but there was no response from the gathering. Chandrababu appealed to the crowd to lend their voice to his, though, according to him, their throats were parched. In contrast, YS Jagan, spoke in scorching sun to an attentive, rapturous audience, which was unmindful of the sizzling heat. The crowd roared with approval each time YS Jagan made a point and the overwhelming sense of enthusiasm was obvious.
Chandrababu spent most of the time in his speech criticizing YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. YS Jagan, on the other hand, spelt out his agenda, spoke about his road map for the development of the state and asked people not to get deceived by Chandrababu’s lies. There was no attempt to arouse passions anywhere during the course of YS Jagan’s electioneering. Instead, he spoke all the time about credibility and trustworthiness. A new element in Chandrababu Naidu’s Tuni meeting was his bowing and bending low towards the audience saying that he was prostrating to them. In the past three decades, one does not recall Chandrababu ever bowing to that extent, seeking people’s blessings. This in itself is a reflection of the stiff challenge he faces on April 11 this time around, coupled with the fear of defeat which seems to have gripped him.
YS Jagan, on the other hands, holds both his hands together high over his head, in a gesture of respect at the beginning and conclusion of his election rallies. While YS Jagan’s body language and his speeches mirror his self confidence, panic and anxiety are the most striking features of Chandrababu Naidu’s tone, tenor and behaviour.
In the past, only Indira Gandhi and NTR attracted large crowds. It must be said however, that YS Jagan attracts people in equally large and sometimes even bigger numbers. While YS Jagan has endeared himself to the people of the state even before he has become chief minister and has thus created history, Chandrababu is trying more voter appeasement strategies than anyone else. YS Jagan attracts larger crowds than even Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan who has the added benefit of being a film star. This only shows that his film glamour is not of much use to him in the political context. Moreover, Pawan Kalyan has not criticized the TDP sharply in any of his election rallies and gives the impression that he has a secret understanding with the ruling party.
Victory and defeat are an integral part of political life, but to earn a good name in politics is something else. It is unfortunate that Chandrababu Naidu has forsaken values completely. The two other star campaigners on behalf of the YSRCP—YS Vijayamma and YS Sharmila are also braving scorching heat and campaigning tirelessly. YS Sharmila establishes a direct connect with the people through her sharp pointed remarks.
In the final reckoning, from the manner in which the people of the state are responding to the YSRCP leaders led by YS Jagan, it appears that he is clearly set to be crowned the next chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.