Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and his cabinet colleagues and party leaders need to be vigilant about the propaganda being indulged in by his opponents, mainly the TDP. Forces unable to digest the success of YSR Congress Party are trying to defame him in various ways. The TDP in particular, does not let go of a single opportunity in this respect. In fact there is a huge difference between the TDP founded by NTR and the one which Chandrababu took over and ran.

NTR placed implicit trust in people. He would speak more about his methods of governance. He was unfamiliar, one could say, with conspiracies and Machiavellian politics. That is the reason why we saw NTR face defeat at the hands of his son-in-law who backstabbed him, as also members of his family. NTR’s reputation was not tarnished by others. It was his son-in-law and members of his family who indulged in loose propaganda to besmirch his name. People who were witness to those times remember how a propaganda campaign was unleashed using the name of Lakshmi Parvathi, NTR’s wife. They succeeded in this vicious slander campaign.

Similarly, they set in motion a massive campaign of calumny against Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy when they came to know that he was in the race for chief ministership. They foisted 29 fake cases against him and tried all kinds of tricks as part of their slander campaign. Dr YSR had to go to court and get them struck down.

Later, after his son, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy rebelled against the authoritarian ways of the Congress and the injustice meted to him, Chandrababu joined the Congress in letting loose a vicious slander campaign against him. All this is part of history. Chandrababu has built a reputation for himself as an adept media manager and also one capable of managing all institutions. Lawyers talk at length about the popularity he enjoys in the legal fraternity, implying the influence he commands. Perhaps it is because of all such “skills” and his inclination and flair for conspiracies that he could succeed all these years.

Chandrababu first gave a letter in support of bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh and later projected himself as a champion of the undivided state and blamed Sonia Gandhi squarely for the mess. He showered insults on Rahul Gandhi. Chandrababu used to criticise both YS Jagan and KCR in strong terms. As he cosied up to Narendra Modi at that time, he trained his guns on Rahul Gandhi. In subsequent years, he left the NDA alliance and insulted Modi in the most shocking way possible.

However, the rise of social media could counter Chandrababu’s slanderous campaigns through the yellow media effectively and neutralise them. Moreover, the way the composition of social groups are constituted and think has changed. As a result, he lost in the most humiliating fashion in the April 11 assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Though the TDP supremo keeps claiming that he still does not know why he was defeated, this is not true. He knows very well the precise reasons for the drubbing he received in the elections. The TDP chief knows he cannot face YS Jagan electorally or in the court of public opinion. This is the reason why Chandrababu has embarked on a two-pronged strategy to tarnish YS Jagan‘s reputation. One is regionalism and the other is giving a communal colour to everything.

As a part of this, the TDP has also been using social media drawing false comparisons between Chandrababu Naidu and YS Jagan. Though there were no hiccups in flood relief operations or any protests, the TDP indulged in a malicious campaign using paid artistes. There is nothing wrong in pointing out defects in governance when they are there in reality. But, weaving a false narrative as the TDP has been doing, is wrong. Chandrababu is desperately trying to paint the YSRCP government in negative light after barely three months of governance. This explains his attempts to whip up hysteria over Amaravati as the capital city and the likely relocation of the new capital. Certain castes and communities are also trying to turn this into a regional issue.

The TDP led by Chandrababu has now started a new campaign saying that he could have turned Amaravati into a city of great promise and potential if he had continued as the chief minister. If this is indeed true, the question is why did he not build a permanent building in the new capital? Why did the TDP government submit an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal that 13,000 acres would be submerged in the new capital city area? It is being said that the new capital city can be constructed over 8000 acres. Why did the TDP not do this then? Why did Chandrababu ask the Centre for Rs.1,00,000 crores for the construction of the new capital? Why did he constantly abuse PM Modi then and why has he gone silent now?

Similarly, he did not breathe a word in criticism of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao after getting caught red-handed in the note for vote case. Of course, during Telangana elections which took place on December 7, 2018 and AP elections which were held on April 11, 2019, Chandrababu Naidu indulged in unbridled criticism of KCR and PM Modi along with YS Jagan. After elections, he does not have the courage to speak about either PM Modi or KCR in a critical vein.

Chandrababu and the yellow media have now trained their guns on YS Jagan and are indulging in an unrelenting campaign of slander. While they are clamouring about the likely relocation of the new capital capital city, yellow media outlets are silent about huge land holdings of TDP leaders like Sujana Chowdary and others. Of course some of them have now joined the ruling BJP.

Similarly, the yellow media is silent on the misdeeds of former AP assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao. It becomes obvious that Chandrababu Naidu and media outlets backing him cannot tolerate YS Jagan as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh and therefore are doing everything they can to smear his reputation. They cannot come to terms with the fact that YS Jagan could come to power and become chief minister on his own without their help and support. They are leaving no stone unturned to try to drive a wedge between people. The TDP and Chandrababu supported by yellow media houses are also trying to create an anti-Telangana sentiment.

Similarly, a group in BJP is also trying to tarnish the image of the YSRCP government. The baseless controversy raised over Tirupati is a case in point. As it turned out later, the tickets which the opposition flaunted were printed during the TDP regime, it was clearly established. These so-called leaders of Hindu groups never questioned Chandrababu on several counts of omissions and commissions. It is clear that both the TDP and BJP are desperately trying to paint YS Jagan as an anti-Hindu leader.

This writer knows of a similar instance when a leading daily launched a TDP-BJP campaign against Dr YSR of an identical nature. I was an employee in that organisation at that time. Panchayat Raj elections were supposed to take place and the government came out with a GO, according to which on account of the elections, some kilometres had to be excluded or exempted from campaigning. Some Hindu leaders discovered a new dimension to this. They indulged in a baseless smear campaign against Dr YSR that the seven hills of Tirumala had been compressed to 3 Hills.

I had cautioned the MD of the newspaper organisation to which I belonged then, saying that this was improper and unfair. However his TDP leanings overpowered everything else and at the cost of basic ethics of journalism, he went ahead with this malicious campaign against Dr YSR. Ironically, the GO was issued by Minister JC Diwakar Reddy, a Hindu! But Dr YSR came in as a soft target for these opportunistic groups who used religion as a handy tool in their smear campaign.

The only reason behind TDP’s propaganda is its inability to digest the fact that YS Jagan is overwhelmingly popular among all sections of society. They will gloss over YS Jagan taking a dip in the holy Ganges or the fact that he regularly seeks blessings from seers like the head of Sarada Peetham and Chinna Jeeyar Swami. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy needs to be extra cautious and vigilant in dealing with these disruptive forces.

Also Read: TDP’s Petty Politics Over Floods