After Telangana, Chandrababu Naidu is looking the most perplexed
Both the YSR Congress and Telugu Desam Party are kicking off rallies to make the most of the opposition to the creation of the new state.
by Usha Turaga Revelli
If political yatras were pilgrimages, political leaders in Andhra Pradesh today would be the most blessed.
YSR Congress Party’s (YSRCP) most vociferous leader Sharmila begins her bus yatra today, on the fourth death anniversary of her ex-chief minister father Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy. This yatra is especially crucial for YSRCP, as its leader YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was forced to break his “fast-unto-death” in jail within a mere six days and it is important for Sharmila to sustain the hype the party built around the event.
Ahead of Sharmila, Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) Chandrababu had a headstart yesterday when he began his “Atma Gourava (self respect) Yatra”, making the most definitive statement on his party’s stance on Telangana in recent months.
However, a ‘state’ of utter confusion prevails with all the key parties still in a limbo over gaining lost ground after the Congress stole their thunder with a succinct announcement on the formation of Telangana.
Chandrababu Naidu comes across as the most perplexed.
Having given in writing his party’s consent to a separate Telangana, the TDP chief was nevertheless as startled as everyone else over Congress’ announcement. Playing hide and seek over Telangana since Dec 2009, Naidu is now compelled to come out with his party’s position on the issue.
Yesterday, in a passionate speech at Pondugula in Guntur district, Naidu roared that ‘he would not let the evil Congress party break the unity of the Telugu people.’ He declared that he supports the united Andhra movement and that he was the one who stalled the bifurcation of the state during the NDA-rule.
He will do it again now, Naidu said.
In his latest “yatra”, Naidu borrows an old concept that brought his late father-in-law NT Rama Rao to power in Andhra Pradesh 30 years ago. Telugu people’s “atma gouravam” (self-respect) is a term that NTR had coined to beat the Congress party and to stoke mass sentiment in 1982 when he launched his party.
“We won’t allow Sonia make that dunce Rahul Gandhi the prime minister of this country. If they think they can sit in Delhi and decide the fate of Telugu people, we will teach them a lesson,’ Naidu roared.
However, apart from all the fire, fury and waves of yellow, it appears the precise purpose and the fine details of the “Atma Gourava Yatra” escape both the leaders and the masses. Though it most certainly is TDP’s clear signal to people that it supports the cause of united Andhra, the party leaders are making no comments on where they are heading.
The TDP cadre from Telangana is no doubt worried that the mileage they have gained with sizeable wins in Telangana in the recent Panchayat elections may evaporate, thanks to the yatra; but aren't saying it yet.
Confusion dogs the YSRCP too, whose leadership is struggling hard to explain what it means by ‘equal justice for all the regions’ though it has made its stance clear on Telangana once and for all with fasts by two of its top leaders.
Meanwhile, the Congress seems to sound a lot more wobbly than it did on 31 July and is in a confounded state over how to handle its leaders from Seemandhra who are waging a relentless movement against the CWC decision. Reportedly, the high command now has serious doubts, not only over the promised merger by Telangana Rashtra Samiti but also on what exactly they have gained by way of political advantage in Telangana.
With Chandrababu Naidu raising the pitch of his anti-Congress campaign, his trademark staccato style of speech also seems to be changing. It remains to be seen whether the strident speeches will convince its cadre and people as their road-shows move on.
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