TDP, YSRC get into election mode much ahead of 2019
By R Prithvi Raj | Express News Service | Published: 16th July 2017 10:46 AM |
Elections are still far away in 2019. Yet, the political landscape in Andhra Pradesh is hotting up. The two major parties - the TDP and the YSRC - are acting as though they have to face the electorate in the next one or two months. Legions of the two parties are already out, exhausting their lung power in damning each other with choicest epithets, sometimes even sinking to new lows.
Nandyal byelection in Kurnool district, which is round the corner, appears to have set the two parties against each other as it is expected that the outcome would set the trend for the 2019 elections. Normally, a byelection to an Assembly seat like Nandyal should not grab the eyeballs like it is doing now. It is all because of the heat that the two parties have generated by spewing up verbal venom in volume and intensity not witnessed before.
In fact, the YSRC plenary held in Guntur district recently has sent the mercury further shooting up in political barometer. YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s promise of imposing prohibition albeit in phases at time when the State government was throwing floodgates open to liquor shops, might have come as a disquieting development for the ruling party.
The TDP men immediately countered Jagan Mohan Reddy’s promise, asking him why he had not announced total prohibition, forgetting the fact that their own is being called to account for allowing liquor to flood each and every village in the State.
This apart, Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced that he would be on padayatra across the State from October for six months. For AP, padayatras have significance. It all started with late YSR ahead of 2004 elections which had taken him to cult status. Later, Naidu did a YSR ahead of 2014 elections and now Jagan Mohan Reddy wants to do a Naidu ahead of 2019 polls. Jagan Mohan Reddy, riding shotgun with political strategist Prashant Kishor, wants to pull the rug under Naidu’s feet and remain in power for 30 years.
In fact, Naidu has been preparing for the 2019 elections since 2014 itself. When he inherited the truncated State of AP, it had nothing worthwhile to claim to be its. He then had decided that his two major trump cards in the 2019 elections should be Amaravati and Polavaram and he has since been diligently working towards these twin goals despite several problems coming in the way.
Even his critics admit that Naidu is a very tough man and it is difficult to change his mind once he takes a decision. There is always the possibility of the decision running in conflict with the interests of the people and yet he is not deterred.
For instance, in the construction of Amaravati, Naidu has faced too many problems, including the challenge to him from some farmers in the capital area who questioned him as to how he could take away their lands without their consent. But Naidu neither has money to pay heavy compensation to the farmers nor time to wait until he gets money to acquire the lands.
He used land pooling formula to take their lands though there has been trenchant criticism that the benefit he was offering them back in the form of plots is shrouded in uncertainty as they are expected to appreciate in value when Amaravati comes up. Though one can make a reasonable guess as to what the future would be like, so far no one in the world had predicted exactly how a project is going to pan out.
Nonetheless, Naidu is putting his shoulder behind Amaravati even in the face of the attempts of residents of a village to approach the World Bank requesting it to stop loan contending that their lands were taken without making any Social Impact Assessment.
Then Polavaram for which funds arrive in fits and starts from the Centre though it had been declared as a national project. Though the task is daunting, Naidu is still trying to make the impossible happen, critics arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. He keeps saying that the first phase would be over by the first quarter of 2019 just in time he faces the elections.
While pursuing the two gigantic projects, he has to reckon with his adversary Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is biding his time to strike at the opportune moment. Naidu has to keep his eyes and ears open all the time to find out the moves of his adversary and plan his counter moves.
Jagan Mohan Reddy introduced his trophy advisor - Prashant Kishor - to the delegates at the YSRC plenary to drive home the point that the days of Naidu are numbered. He is already going to town saying that Naidu has bluffed on farm loan waiver.
Armed with the three political weapons - padayatra, prohibition and exposing Naidu on farm loan waiver, he wants to hit the streets. No one denies they are potential weapons, capable of influencing the voters. Neither can afford to feel safe. If one does, one is not.