Chiru an angry bird in AP Congress nest
All is not well between the Congress in Andhra and its Rajya Sabha MP Chiranjeevi. The recent outburst by the megastar against the state Congress leadership proves his frustration of not getting anything from the party except membership of Rajya Sabha for the sacrifice he had made by merging his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress. The actor turned politician hoped much and much more but there are no signs of anything substantial coming his way.
More than Chiranjeevi, the chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Botcha Satyanarayana want him to be taken into the central Cabinet so that players in the game of musical chairs for chief minister’s post would be one less. But Chiranjeevi’s supporters always say they want to see him as the chief minister of the state, much to the chagrin of Kiran Reddy and to some extent Botcha.
When Chiranjeevi spoke critical of the party’s management in the state, one wondered whether he was trying to overshadow others in the party. At a brain storming session in Gandhi Bhavan, Chiranjeevi likened the Congress party to a house ready to collapse. “Once I enter the house, I wish I am safe inside. The house should be strong enough to face a cyclone or a Tsunami. If the house is weak and ready to fall, I would definitively feel insecure,” Chiranjeevi said.
Though everyone admits in private that what Chiranjeevi had said was true, supporters of both Kiran Reddy and Bothca “take exception” to the comments as they see in them an attempt to project himself as messiah of the party and thus make himself eligible for better positions of power.
The first to react was Bothca, who in an oblique reference to Chiranjeevi said that the Congress is a house with very strong foundations and those who had bragged of pulling out that house with its foundations had finally merged in it. Though Botcha denied he had Chiranjeevi in mind, everyone knew he was targeting Chiranjeevi, who in fact was his pal in the past. “Botcha first says something tongue in cheek and after the damage is done, he denies referring to the person whom he intended,” one Congress leader said.
Though the fear of change of guard in the government and the party infighting has receded for the time being, the threat always remains since the party leadership sooner than later would have to cleanse the stables and infuse new vigour into the party and make it ready for the 2014 elections.
What ruffled the feathers of the seniors of the party was Chiranjeevi’s comments that: “It is true there is no coordination in the party. Nobody is putting in an effort to bring unity among party leaders. For instance, though the state government has prepared the SC/ST sub-plans, lack of coordination among leaders is creating hurdles in publicising these plans.” one leader asked, “Why should he keep on saying that the party is in a bad shape unless he wants to project himself as one who could save the party.”
The matinee idol also alleged that there were YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s coverts, who were weakening the party from within. It is not the first time for Chiranjeevi to take potshots at the Congress leadership. The Rajya Sabha member fired salvos at the party leadership soon after the results of the recent bypolls in the state. He even went on predicting doom for the party in 2014 elections.
According to some seniors in the Congress, Chiranjeevi was not happy in the party as he feels that his supporters in the party are not being treated on a par with Congress leaders. “Though there is no PRP now, Chiranjeevi feels that his loyalists in the Congress are not getting proper treatment in the Congress. By claiming that there is no coordination in the Congress, the Rajya Sabha member wants to draw the attention of the Congress high command. He wants to get his pound of flesh in nominated posts in the state government for his men,” said a former minister from Seemandhra region, who did not want to be named.
-- Sunday Standard