12-08-201912-08-2019 13:49:05 IST
2019-08-12T08:19:05.118Z12-08-2019 2019-08-12T08:18:56.928Z - - 21-08-2019
The Telugu Desam Party is already downbeat post the severe drubbing in the recent elections. Most of its leaders, including its supremo Chandrababu Naidu, are still smarting under the humiliating defeat. Four prominent Rajya Sabha MPs ditching the party and joining the BJP is giving sleepless nights to Naidu and team.
The prospect of many more at the state-level waiting in the wings to switch over to the saffron party sooner or later is keeping them on tenterhooks.
In the face of all the adversities, Chandrababu Naidu seemed to have hit upon the idea of targeting the YSRCP government as the only way for his depleted party to bounce back. In line with this thinking, the TDP forces, which fell silent for a while after the elections, have begun to become strident of late.
Unlike Nara Lokesh, who seems to prefer firing salvos only from behind the cover of Twitter, the TDP spokespersons are upping the ante in their criticism of Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and what they ridicule as his ‘inexperience in administration.’
But just when the TDP cadre is finding some hope to regroup, here comes a goof-up that threatens to be highly counter-productive. Sadly, the blunder comes from none other than the TDP president Chandrababu Naidu himself. In his desperation to corner Jagan on every possible front, Naidu came up with a bizarre tweet on his official handle the other day.
The tweet showcased two contrasting images of ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers giving a milk shower to a portrait of Jagan in one and burning the effigy as a mark of protest in the other. The TDP chief used the image with a comment in Telugu suggesting, “This is the honour one gets if they fail to fulfill their promises.”
There was no doubt that Naidu was taking a jibe at the chief minister for what he calls as the “latter’s failure to hike ASHA workers’ remuneration from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000 as promised by him.” Even before anyone could contest Naidu’s claim as it actually came in the wake of a Government Order increasing these salaries, the images that Chandrababu chose for attacking Jagan grabbed all the attention.
As it soon emerged, the second image in the collaged picture hardly had any connection to either Jagan or the state of Andhra Pradesh. It related to a protest by ASHA workers, not in Andhra Pradesh but in the neighbouring state of Telangana, and that too in 2015.
This provided all the ammunition to the YSRCP activists and sympathizers to take Naidu to task for persisting with his usual ‘heap of lies’ even after being taught a fitting lesson for the same in the elections. And with the ‘foot in the mouth’, Naidu’s team deleted the tweet many hours after the ‘blooper’ had already done enough damage.
YSRCP leaders like Ambati Rambabu later fully seized on the opportunity that Naidu presented on a platter and tucked into the TDP and its leader for “using cheap tricks to propagate falsehood”.
One is not sure if this fiasco is going to put anyone of Naidu’s PR team on the line of peril but ‘blunders of bluster’ and bizarre statements are alarmingly becoming the mainstay of the TDP’s tirade against its political adversaries.
There is criticism that the TDP’s stand on several issues including the demolition of illegal construction Praja Vedika, reversal of PPAs, Polavaram project contracts and the most recent scrapping of Bandar port contract is not in tune with the popular mood prevailing on the ground.
Also, its attempts to ‘paint the Jaganmohan Reddy government black’ on the law and order front, both inside the Assembly and outside, failed to fire in the absence of any significant public outrage.
Already, the TDP is believed to be suffering from severe ‘trust deficit’ which reflected in the results of both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Political observers feel that the TDP needs to seriously introspect and review its political strategies to make sure that they only pay dividends instead of causing embarrassment.
And hasty acts like the latest tweet fiasco are only going to make matters worse for both Naidu and his party in their efforts to get back on the feet, they feel.
-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru
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