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Is Chandrababu ‘right’ that ‘voters were wrong’?

08-08-201908-08-2019 11:08:47 IST
Updated On 08-08-2019 15:19:23 ISTUpdated On 08-08-20192019-08-08T05:38:47.325Z08-08-2019 2019-08-08T05:38:40.475Z - 2019-08-08T09:49:23.782Z - 08-08-2019

Is Chandrababu ‘right’ that ‘voters were wrong’?

Just as they say ‘old habits die hard’, Andhra Pradesh former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu seems to be back to his mind games once again. In his latest attempt, he trained his guns at the people at large or the voters, to be precise.

Naidu thinks the electorate of the state, which gave his Telugu Desam Party only 23 seats and 151 to the YSRCP, was unfair in voting him and his party out of power. The outpouring of his anguish and agony came during a recent party meet organized at TDP headquarters in Guntur.

“No one is in a position to say why the TDP has lost the recent Assembly elections. I still can’t figure out what was it we did so badly that people decided to give us only 23 MLAs. Never in my 40 years of political life, have I seen such a verdict,” was how the TDP chief squarely blamed the voters.

He did not stop at that and went on with his rant: “People benefitted from Pattiseema and yet voted for YSRCP. In other words, they chose a male buffalo (dunnapothu) instead of a milch-cow that gave them all the milk.” No prizes for guessing that his ‘buffalo slur’ was an open insinuation at YSRCP chief and current Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

Whether Naidu is justified or not in his attack on the electorate is another matter for debate. But he is making his intentions clear that he is looking to gradually change the negative public perception against him and the TDP which got crystallized before the Assembly elections. The TDP government between 2014 and 2019 faced accusations of unprecedented corruption on all fronts.

Taking full advantage of the alleged excesses committed by the ruling party MLAs, the YSRCP was successful in painting the Naidu government with the shades of an ‘oppressive regime’.

As a consequence, the TDP paid heavily at the hustings. But recent developments, indicating a marked shift in BJP’s approach, seem to be giving Naidu a much-needed opportunity for a ‘course-correction’. After raising the heat over what they accused as ‘massive-scale corruption under Naidu’s rule’, the BJP is clearly going soft on the TDP while tucking into the YSRCP more for its tirade.

A central minister has recently given a clean chit to the Polavaram project works which goes against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famous accusation that “Naidu’s men have turned the project into an ‘ATM’”.

Sensing the latest mood-swings quickly, Naidu seems to have timed his latest outburst against the voters to perfection. His idea is to plant a counter-perception in the minds of the people that everything was ‘hunky dory’ during the previous regime. And to force them to introspect if they had indeed committed a mistake by dumping Naidu and the TDP in the elections.

For a wily politician like Chandrababu Naidu, this is an all too familiar game of tactics. And as time passes by, he is only likely to harp on this more frequently.

Recent history tells us Naidu has used this tactic to great effect whenever he is in opposition. It was not the first time Chandrababu Naidu blamed either the electorate or some opposition parties for the TDP’s flop shows at the hustings. Post 2009 elections which saw the Congress party led by the late Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy retaining power, Naidu cribbed a lot about how Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party played the spoilsport and tilted the scales in Congress party’s favour.

On several other occasions since 2009, Naidu expressed displeasure with the voters for ‘not seeing the brighter side of his development mission’ and voting in favour of the YSR-led Congress.

Even after the 2019 poll drubbing, there seems to be a perception within the TDP that puts the blame on the party going in for a tacit understanding with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena.

It is hard to establish if Naidu’s anguish is a genuine outpouring or part of a carefully designed strategy meant for public consumption. The TDP certainly has its task cut out in erasing the negative perception that is firmly embedded in people’s mind. The next five years in opposition will be its best opportunity to bounce back through constructive work on the ground in exposing the YSRCP government’s shortcomings.

But if Chandrababu Naidu prefers to push ahead with his ‘voter-bashing’, frequently blaming the electorate for voting his party out of power, it can backfire badly and have even more catastrophic consequences.

-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru

Newssting Desk
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