Weather advisory for Seemandhra for April-May, 2014: The “depression” in the Bay of Bengal is likely to develop into a severe cyclonic storm. Congress camps will definitely be wiped out. Shift to safer homes.
“The best option for Congressmen is to declare for themselves a political holiday for five years. Those, who have the option of joining the YSRC or Telugu Desam, may do so without losing time”— an aged family member of an Andhra minister thus summed up the political situation in the region after the Congress decided to divide the State.
He has a reason. The disgust among people over the manner in which the Congress-ruled Central and State Governments have been functioning for the past five years has now turned into total hatred. As one travels in the hinterland of Andhra districts, one can hear people using choicest of abuses, unprintable, for Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Posters derisive of Congress MPs have become commonplace.
But, make no mistake. The Congress would still have been an object of hate even if it had not come out with the division proposal. “Even otherwise, we will not vote for the Congress. See how prices are going up. Lands allotted for weaker sections months before YSR died are yet to be distributed among the beneficiaries. Even the subsidy towards gas cylinders is not being remitted to bank accounts properly,” complains Nageswara Rao, a Yadava farmer, sitting on a cement platform outside a shop at Punadipadu village in Penamalur constituency.
Ask anyone in any village or town as to who is responsible for the separation of the State. Pat comes the reply: Congress and primarily, Sonia Gandhi. “Every other party may have given letters one way or the other. But, who took the decision? Is it not the Congress?” reasons Addanki Nageswara Rao of Kanagala village in Bapatla Lok Sabha constituency. Cut across to Penumantra village on the way to Tanuku. Dharma Raju, a Madiga, accuses Congress MPs of behaving like slaves. “They are falling at her feet and coming out with grand statements before TV cameras. Shameless fellows!” he fumes.
The villain has been identified but whether the upcoming 2014 election movie will have one or more heroes is something that is still not clear.
“That the Congress is dead and buried is known. But, whether it will be YSRCP or Telugu Desam, we don’t know yet,” admits Swarajyam, a home guard at Mogulturu village, native of Union Minister Chiranjeevi, where he is the most detested.
To the discerning observer, it is apparent that the Congress knew its game in Andhra Pradesh was up, division or no division. When you can’t win a game, the best thing to do is muddy the waters and leave all players in a state of confusion, which is what the Congress seems to have precisely done. Sooner than later, it appears that fissures within the Seemandhra camps in different parties will widen as they wangle to share the booty generated out of the ongoing Samaikyandhra movement - on account of various issues, whether it’s location of the new capital or clash of interests which are quite different between Rayalaseema and Andhra.
For now, notwithstanding his diatribe against the party leadership over its decision to bifurcate AP, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is still not emerging a hero. “We do appreciate what he says. But, he should have opposed the proposal the moment he came to know of it. What is the point in raising all these issues now?” is a common refrain across Andhra. His repeated challenges to the Congress leadership, however, have further damaged the prospects of the party, already being singularly blamed for the bifurcation move. But, the scene could change dramatically if he sacrifices his chair for the sake of United Andhra Pradesh, enough evidence of which is already embedded in his own words.
This throws up the big question if there is another wheel within the wheel. For the “suspects” in the Congress - there are any number of them within the Cabinet and outside - who have only been waiting for the right time to shift loyalties to the YSRC or TDP, the division proposal has indeed come in handy to justify the switch. The problem, if at all, is only for the “Congress loyalists” or those who cannot move towards Telugu Desam or YSRC. Will Kiran emerge as their messiah? Does he have it in him to pick up the gauntlet? These are questions for which answers may come out as the bifurcation politics gains momentum in the coming days.