The political war between the ruling and opposition parties in Andhra have now become a law and order issue of the entire state. The confrontation and clashes between the ruling party YSR Congress on the one side and the main oppositionTelugu Desam Party (TDP) on the other, have crossed the boundaries of a political tussle. The main agenda of two political figureheads, who should be involved in its post-bifurcation reconstruction of the state, i.e. chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, is to capture political supremacy over the state and decimate the adversary.
The price for this unyieldingly fought battle is to be paid by a new-born state and its people. Most recently, following TDP's declaration of 'Chalo Atmakur' rally against the politics of violence of the ruling party, Chandrababu Naidu was put under house arrest on Wednesday. Although his son Nara Lokesh was also detained in his house, he was released later. The leaders of his party are in preventive detention. Naidu and his party allege that 10 TDP workers were killed and dozens of people injured in the attacks unleashed by the ruling party's workers since Jagmohan Reddy came to power.
Since violence intensified and life became unbearable in most of the villages, the 'victims' have taken shelter in Atmakur in the Palnadu area of Guntur district and set up camp there. Naidu's plan was to conduct a protest march to that part against the onslaughts by Jagan's party. When Jagan also declared a march to the same place, the police declared prohibitory orders to prevent confrontation and arrested leaders.
Over the last three and a half decades, Andhra has been the scene of an unhealthy dynasty tussle trespassing all borders of political ettiquette and morality. The rivalry of Chandrababu Naidu against YS Rajasekhara Reddy is now continuing with the latter's son. Naidu, who has turned 70 has now fielded his son ten years juinior to Jagan, determined to bequeath the duel to the next generation.
Interestingly the entry to politics of both Naidu and Reddy, was through Congress. Both contested and won the poll to the state assembly and became ministers together in 1978. But before long, at the instance of his father-in-law NT Rama Rao, Naidu crossed over to Telugu Desasm. About the same period, YSR reached the helm of the Congress party in Andhra. The two have been protagonists ever since. Naidu became the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. When he turned the capital Hyderabad into Cyberabad by roping in IT giants like Microsoft to the city, he earned accolades as a 'CEO' chief minister. In parallel he stole the lime light as king-maker in national politics too.
As one who had no qualms about leaning to the side where political fortunes lay, Naidu had turned coats as sponsor of both the Congress and the BJP coalitions in turns. In the meantime, YSR completed ten years in parliament and came back to the state and became the opposition leader against Naidu in 1999. Through systematic preparation, he floored his opponent in the 2004 election and became chief minister. The Naidu-Reddy feud have only intensified ever since. That continued even after Reddy's death with Jagan. He even put behind bars Jagan, who had formed his own party after falling out with the Congress, with the help of Congress.
Jagan is now beginning to carry out his oath of revenge taken during his days in jail. He even cancelled many of the reform endeavours and development schemes initiated by Naidu. In addition, he has been trying to incriminate Naidu in corruption cases, also using his good offices with Modi, as sweet revenge against Naidu who had trapped him in corruption. The vindictive measures went to the extent of stripping the longest serving chief minister for security examination at Vijayawada airport. He lifted the Z-category security that had been provided to Naidu following Mao attack threats. The latest house arrest comes after these vindictive acts. Jagan further satiated his thirst for revenge most recently by driving his convoy along the home of the caged leader.
When the rivalry between the leaders percolated down to the rank and file, the state became tense. According to Naidu's allegation, during the 112 days of Jagan's rule, 565 instances of violenc, 10 murders and 201 attacks took place. It is in protest against these that 120 scheduled caste families stayed in make-shift camps in Atmakur. The other day police forcefully evicted them and sent them back to their native villages. At any rate, with the ruling and opposition parties bracing up for a tug-of-war with an eye for an eye posture, the casualty is going to be Andhra's thrust for development. If both sides are vowed to make their will rule supreme, the infant state will only gasp for breath at birth.