Political Game-changers Of 2018

Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu, Rahil Gandhi - Sakshi Post

Reshmi AR

The political timeline of 2018 has been punctuated with a series of interesting events which gripped the nation's collective attention. Among these was the no-confidence vote against the Modi government in late July which was a high-octane affair. In an unprecedented move, Congress president Rahul Gandhi went across the floor of the Lok Sabha and hugged the Prime Minister for which he was roundly criticized by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and several others. During the course of his speech, PM Modi came out all guns blazing and defined himself as a Kaamdaar (doer) as opposed to a Naamdaar (inheritor of a legacy through name/title). Earlier in the year, AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu walked out of the NDA claiming that he was forced to do so because the Centre had denied the state Special Category Status. What he failed to explain, however, was what he had been doing from 2014 as a partner in the alliance and why he hailed the special package when it was given to him instead of SCS.

The five YSRCP Lok Sabha MPs—YV Subba Reddy of Ongole, Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy of Nellore, YS Avinash Reddy of Kadapa, P Mithun Reddy representing Rajampet and Varaprasad Rao of Tirupati gave up their posts over denial of SCS to AP.

Karnataka elections was the first among many of the big surprises which lay in store for the BJP. Though it emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka, it failed to get past the magic number required to form the government, in spite of its clumsy efforts to woo opposition and independent MLAs over to its side. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao sprung a major surprise by advancing elections to the state Assembly.

In another shocking political development of the year, Chandrababu Naidu joined hands with TDP's arch-rival, Congress to form the Mahakutami to take on the KCR-led TRS. It appeared that he had infused a lot of energy into the elections for 119 assembly constituencies in the fledgling state. However, more twists lay ahead after polling ended on December 7. When the results were announced on December 11, the verdict was crystal clear—there was no place for TDP or Chandrababu in Telangana. As it turns out, the two MLAs who were elected on a TDP ticket from Sattupalli and Aswaraopeta in Khammam district have since defected to the ruling TRS.

Yet another major shocker for BJP was its defeat in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In Telangana also, the party did not fare too well with its count coming down from five assembly seats to 1 represented by Raja Singh in Goshamahal constituency.

As the year winds down to a close, apart from all the sound and fury relating to the Rafale Jets deal, the most important chapter in contemporary electoral politics is yet to unfold in the months to come. In Andhra Pradesh we see a vibrant and resurgent YSR Congress Party led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, gaining ground across the state ready to knock an insecure Chandrababu Naidu of his lofty perch. It must be recalled though that in the 2014 elections, the TDP scraped past the YSRCP to get to power by a mere 1.5% or so, piggy-riding the Modi Wave and Pawan Kalyan's star status. Chandrababu stands on his own footing now as 2018 comes to a close.

If things pan out they way they appear to, Chandrababu Naidu’s insecurity and paranoia which characterised his behavior in 2018 will only get heightened in 2019.

Also Read: Time For Sleeping PM to Wake Up: Rahul

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