Political violence has raised its ugly head in Andhra Pradesh, heightening tensions between the ruling TDP and the Opposition YSR Congress though the big poll battle is due only in 2019. The bloodbath has claimed the lives of leaders on both the sides. Finger-pointing is in full swing, but it is obvious that this unfortunate chain of events was set in motion or at least, was given a jump start when TDP chief and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu began implementing his strategy of weakening the YSRC by spiriting away the latter's MLAs.
The tactic, while old and effective, has serious constitutional implications and Naidu, despite his famed political acumen, is also learning the hard way that it could boomerang on him, particularly in faction-sensitive districts in the state. The way the supporters of TDP MLC Karanam Balaramakrishna Murthy and loyalists of TDP MLA Gottipati Ravikumar clashed at Ongole Tuesday, the headquarter of Prakasam district, showed that though rival factions are in the same party, they are not on the same page.
The trigger for the free-for-all was the hacking to death of two of Murthy's aides on Friday last allegedly by Ravikumar's supporters. Murthy spewed vitriol on Naidu himself. He had fiercely opposed the admission of Ravikumar into the party last year since both the factions had been at loggerheads for decades, scarring the history of Prakasam district.
Naidu, however, had welcomed Ravikumar and 20 YSRC legislators into the TDP and even inducted four into his cabinet. The representations of YSRC chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to the various constitutional heads to invoke the anti-defection law have fallen on deaf ears. While there is nothing wrong in chalking out Chanakya strategies, Naidu should remember that all such moves should be within the boundaries of the Constitution and also shouldn't unsettle his party colleagues who are now openly spewing venom on him. A house divided impacts not only the TDP's prospects but also the state's governance.