Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu seems to have redefined democracy giving it his own spin. He accuses Prime Minister Narendra Modi of indulging in horsetrading, belittling the office of the Prime Minister and betrayal in the spirit of democracy. This was in response to PM Modi’s indefensible remark that 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with him and that they would desert West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, after May 23.
Perhaps the best rejoinder to Chandrababu Naidu’s statement came from former chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh, IYR Krishna Rao who said that only someone who could claim in a sworn affidavit that he had never indulged in horsetrading, would be eligible to criticise PM Modi‘s remark. The TDP supremo conveniently forgets many facts of history which he constantly needs to be reminded of.
Does Chandrababu Naidu want us to believe that luring 23 MLAs of the YSR Congress party into the TDP and making four of them his cabinet colleagues, is a democratic act? Did he and Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao not lower democratic values in openly doing so? Was it not the Speaker’s responsibility to disqualify the turncoat MLAs? Yet, Chandrababu Naidu has the gall to preach about the virtues of democracy and thinks that if his yellow media megaphones keep blaring these untruths, he would be successful in fooling the masses.
Take the most recent instance from Chandrababu Naidu‘s Orwellian world. Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma planned to hold a media conference at a prominent hotel in Vijayawada. The hotel, for reasons best known to it and not hard to guess, cancelled the press meet called by the film maker.
RGV decided to hold his media conference anyway, on a Vijayawada Road. The police however prevented him from entering the city and sent him back to Hyderabad from the airport itself. Is this Chandrababu‘s version of democracy?
RGV posted a number of tweets on this, but the question still remains—what is Chandrababu afraid of in a movie? The film in any case has been held back till after the election results, but why can’t its maker hold a press conference? How democratic is it to obstruct a media meet while hailing the virtues of democracy elsewhere?
This hypocrisy and ambivalent approach is typical of Chandrababu’s posturing. This has been the pattern of his politics in the journey he has undertaken over what he himself claims as four decades. In the famous Viceroy Hotel incident in which NTR kept pleading with his MLAs to return to the parent fold of the party founded by the veteran actor, Chandrababu made sure that all the legislators were comfortably holed up inside the hotel.
Thus it was that in his famous coup of sorts, that Chandrababu upstaged NTR and crowned himself chief minister of the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh. Was this an act of democracy? If he wanted to become chief minister, he should have dissolve the assembly and called for and elections to know where he stands in the eyes of the public. He knew the answer all too well.
Chandrababu claims he did so to save the party and the state at that time. Lakshmi Parvathi, NTR’s wife, became a convenient scarecrow to point a finger at, as Chandrababu craftily took over the party and the reins of leadership. NTR’s family fell for the ploy and it was only much later that many of them probably realised that they had been taken for a ride, but by then Chandrababu Naidu had risen to great heights climbing on their backs, as it were.
Chandrababu sailed with the BJP during NDA’s first run in 1999 and later distanced himself alleging communal politics by the BJP. Throughout his political journey, he ran with the hares and hunted with the hounds, be it the United Front government of Deve Gowda, IK Gujral or the Vajpayee regime under NDA I. He had no qualms tying up with Modi led BJP in 2014 or with KCR-led TRS in 2009. As things turned out, opportunism turned him into a bitter critic of both KCR and Modi.
Speaking of democracy, does Chandrababu remember how he encouraged and lured over to the TDP, 23 MLAs of the YSR Congress party. He made four of the turncoat MLAs ministers in his cabinet. By what stretch of imagination is this democracy?
Janmabhoomi committees ruled the roost for five years in AP and have become synonymous with corruption in village after village across the state. They bypassed local panchayats and became extra-constitutional authorities at the grassroots level. Is this Chandrababu’s idea of democracy?
The TDP chief misses no opportunity to remind the world and that he has 40 years of experience in politics and claims to be an industry in himself. Yet, when it comes to the Model Code in force at the time of elections, he makes bizarre statements. He attacks the chief secretary knowing fully well that the senior most bureaucrat in the state is vested with all powers under the Constitution to carry out his job as he has been doing. The TDP supremo has been blaming the Election Commission, PM Modi, YS Jagan and KCR, thus preparing the ground for his imminent defeat. He claims that he has all constitutional powers to conduct reviews and points a finger at the chief secretary for doing so, knowing that it is the other way around under the rule book.
If anything, Chandrababu has subverted the democratic system and has tried to harm institutions more than any other politician in recent times. He set an unhealthy precedent in declaring AP a no-entry zone for CBI and by not cooperating with other central agencies.
It was said of the French Bourbons that they “learnt nothing and forgot nothing.” Chandrababu Naidu belongs to this category. He will persist with his mendacious ways, half truths and falsehoods and use his yellow media outlets to propagate his sinister agenda. He will blame everyone under the sun except the TDP and his misrule if he loses once the results are out. The masses, however, have their way of teaching politicians a lesson.