Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two States

Telangana and Andhra, the uneasily co-existing brothers , are now agitating for a nuclear and a joint family respectively.A division operation almost always leaves quotient and a remainder. Due to multiple parties involved in the division, there are
multiple of them.

Here is a list of people who matter in the current political scene in Andhra Pradesh. Forget about any sentiments you may have or you may support. This is an end of the day balance sheet of who got what.

Late Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), Ex-Chief Minister:

He is a God now, graduating from his earlier demigod status. His image is now used only in the margins
of a placard. More akin to invoking "Jai Sriram" before the start of anything. He dreamt of a utopic state for his family, friends and the state, strictly in that order. His death in the helicopter crash was a curtain riser for the best show in A.P politics till now. Anyway, I had to invoke him before starting the actual list.

Mr.Rosaiah, Chief Minister:

He had got his stars right and became a CM just by living longer than his cabinet colleagues. He is a turtle. He is very slow from the wisdom he carries from the long innings he had till now. He has not gained much and won't lose much. He has no group of his own in congress and would be thrown out of margin soon. His 9-to-5-job attitude got him maximum returns and now he would definitely think of retiring.

Mr.N.Chandrababu Naidu, TDP Supremo:

He is in a fix now. He had inched closer to congress in 2009 State and General elections and might have taken on Congress very strongly in the absence of YSR in 2014 elections. He would have been busy formulating the vision of bringing in investments, which saw a slump under YSR, and also maintaining balance with the agriculture sector. Imbalance between the two along with continuous drought worked against him in 2004 state elections. The center's decision to split the state might have caught him unawares and spoiled his chance of a thumping victory in 2014 elections. Prominently, he has only one way out now: forming a Telangana TDP and moving to the Andhra state where the next big game hunting is. He would definitely stand out there, among the political saplings who are currently grappling for power. It would be interesting to see him build a capital for the new state, whichever city it may be.

K.Chandrsekhar Rao (KCR), TRS supremo:

Villages in Andhra Pradesh ( including Telangana) have village deities. After a bountiful harvest or during the time of a crisis, sacrifices are made to the deity for her blessings. KCR is a well decorated sacrificial sheep. His demand was for a separate state as soon as, he was out of TDP's uterus. He was a still born leader then. Fluctuating and fumbling in his strategies he resembled his blood sugar levels. But, as if in a trance from excessive toddy, he stuck to his strategy of going on a hunger strike. I haven't seen movements in recent years but the fire caught on quickly with this one. Potti Sriramulu, a Gandhian who sacrificed his life after 56 days of fast unto death seems to be a vague inspiration. KCR extracted a statement out of the center in 11 days. In the game of cards at 10 Janpath, KCR was always the joker on the Telangana card. He tried alliances with all the parties to see if things work but this was quite unlike the card game he plays at home. He did not succeed with anyone and came to a state of zero credibility with rebellion in his own party. Now he has to only wait till the new state forms and join Congress. More like a played card, a used shell. The Congress will steal the show from him in 2014 elections. Now he can retire or simply die out politically. His victory rallies are like ecstasy before death. He had a point to his life till now and he got it and that's the end.

K.Chiranjeevi, PRP Supremo:

A good hero with great dialogues but bad timing. He professed NTR as his inspiration (euphemism for imitation) to start a political party in the state. He broke into the scene with social justice as his main motto. Politicians from the OBC (Other Backward Class) section of TDP migrated to PRP with great dreams in their head. They were sleeping all the while. The movie was a flop in most of the centers in the state except in 18 constituencies. However, he was able to dent the TDP vote share which helped Congress to win the 2009 elections. He is a drawn card now. With his 15 of the 18 seats coming from Andhra region of the state he took quite some time in joining the demand for a unified state. He and his family, the only visible faces of the party, are ready to join Congress party of the Andhra region as soon as the doors are open. I wish him good luck on his tripping trips to Delhi.

Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), Lok Satta Supremo:

He envisions to bring in institutional reforms. A grand vision but needs mighty amount of political resolve. His party is still in a nascent stage and even if it is fully built, the response times for his call are two general elections away at least. He has nothing much to lose. He can now concentrate closely on the Andhra state and help in building some good institutions.

Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy (Jagan), YSR's son:

Analogies are badly understood. Sonia Gandhi:Rahul Gandhi (is not equal to) YSR:Jagan. He expected he would straight way walk into the secretarait from the last rite ceremony of his father. But things turned sour for him. Sonia Gandhi wanted to desperately control his growth so that he does not go on to become another YSR. His dad might have sent hundreds of crores extracted from Mining Brothers ( Reddy brothers from Bellary) to 10 Janpath. Nevertheless, there had to be a side tracking of Jagan and CBI cases on Mining brothers. This removed him from the fore ground of the political scene and he got deposed to another "son of a politician". Arguably, he is responsible for the resignation of the MLAs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions there by getting back at Sonia and the groups who opposed his candidature for the CM post. But I doubt if he is that good a player. He might have covertly instigated the resignations but he himself is not in the foreground. Surely this fidelity would be rewarded by the High Command.

Sonia Gandhi and her strategy:

YSR loosened her hold on the party in AP but he was someone who gave 33 MPs to the center. This gave him good bargain in the projects for the state and funds for numerous schemes he started in the name of the dead of Nehru-Gandhi family. He was a bigger leader than he was cut out for by the High Command. His death left a political vacuum in the sate which was the right opportunity for Sonia to get back her hold. This is when she used the trump card called Telangana in a single sentence, mid-night statement issued by an over worked Chidambaram. Now she has become the hero (yet to be claimed) for the Telangana region where Congress, as a party that gave Telangana, is bound to cash the sentiment. There would be mid-term elections, after the formation of Telangana state is complete within 2 years. Handpicking candidates who are ready to dust her sandals, she would get her grip back from the current power groups.

Fasts unto death have already started in the Andhra region and are in full force now. Lagadapati Rajagopal is in the fore front from Congress and Devineni Umamaheshwar Rao (Uma) from the TDP side. Both these leaders are fighting for a better position in their parties in the separate Andhra state. I am not sure how the present stand off would be resolved but there must be some carrot to put to these fasting hares. The fight now is not for a unified state but it is for Hyderabad, the Kohinoor made out of thousands of crores of investment. This is the main point of contention. Geographically it is not possible for Hyderabad to be a capital of both the states. So the only way the investments can be protected is through a demand for a united state.

In her parleys with the ghosts of Indira Gandhi and Pandit Nehru, Sonia should blame Nehru for moving the captial from Kurnool to Hyderabad. Had it been Kurnool, it would easily be a union territory and a capital for both the states.