AP Politics- Post YSR Options for Congress Party అక్టోబర్ 21, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in Congress, Economy, elections, politics, SEZ, Telangana.
A Political Post- Mortem: Andhra Pradesh After YSR
By Kadempally Sudhakar
The sudden and tragic death of Y Rajashekar Reddy (YSR) left the Congress Party and his beneficiaries in a state of shock, void and dumb. No doubt YSR was the most powerful and crowed puller Congress CM AP ever had. Earlier Congress CMs were appointed and removed as per high command calculations and convenience. The important point is YSR rose to CM chair during Sonia Gandhi’s stewardship. The same YSR was a permanent dissident leader throughout his political career right from Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and PV Narasimha Rao era. It is only during Sonia’s time YSR came out of dissidence and took a historic padayatra throughout the state and came to power in 2004 defeating Chandrababu Naidu. No other previous congress CM had this kind of mass appeal and contacts. Main reasons for YSR’s victory in 2004 were Naidu’s lopsided policies, neglect of agriculture, farmer suicides. People saw in YSR a hope and fed up with Naidu’s World Bank policies which YSR used very well and saw him as a messiah. In 2004, Naidu was alone fighting the Congress, left, TRS, MIM combine. YSR gets full marks for Congress revival in the state and his valuable contribution at the centre.
Sonia was too happy with YSR for sending 29 crucial and largest number of Congress MPs to Lok Sabha which facilitated in forming a UPA led front government. Unlike previous congress chiefs’, Sonia acted with immense maturity, common sense, benevolent in choosing Dr Singh as PM. This strategy improved her image, popularity ratings, became stronger than before (like Indira era). It was clear that she left the governance to Dr Singh and she managed politics. This arrangement worked well and UPA was fortunate that during 2004- 2008 there was an unprecedented economic boom resulted in real estate, consumer goods, media, and infrastructure areas. Dr Singh govt did very well except couple of alleged scams in telecom sector, public sector privatization etc. UPA’s NREGS scheme helped them coming back in 2009 and of course BJP’s failure and left’s bankruptcy too helped. Still Rahul is on probation and training. The Congress High command had given full freedom to YSR since 2004 in both political and governance matters on TINA factor.
For YSR there was no looking back till his tragic death on 2nd September 2009. During his first tenure (2004-9) YSR was allegedly involved in many controversies related to his son’s properties, investments and its sources and business dealings. All opposition parties went to Delhi and submitted reports on YSR corruption charges to Congress President. By the time he became CM, all old horses in the state congress had become too old to walk and talk and they have no mass base or groups. Till NTR came into politics, there was no mass politics or public contacts by then the CMs. Mass politics were done by Indira Gandhi and Rajiv throughout the country and they did not allow any state leaders to do mass politics. Things have changed when Sonia took over the mantle. She did not change CMs as was done in the past and changed the perception in general about the working style of the party. YSR was lucky in many respects, during his period there was unprecedented economic boom, good monsoons, no credible and mass leader/s in the party and his only target was Naidu.
In earlier times, checks and balances were done by their own leaders. Since YSR was a dissident leader in most his career, hence he also knows how to control dissidents and he was successful. He cut off lines to all other leaders from high command and state in-charges in Delhi . He used Delhi model of mass politics in the state and made clear to his ministers and MLA, leave politics and governance to him and mind their own business. As a result of this, no other leader emerged or no scope at all, other senior leaders were too happy with their kith and kin getting MLA or MP seat or some projects. He had become invincible and the most powerful congress CM that AP ever had.
There were some serious and credible allegations against him by the opposition on irrigation projects, land dealings, power and mining projects, SEZs. Coastal corridor project, diverting water and other resources to Rayalaseema and his own son’s business dealings etc. His popular schemes like Arogyasree, Indiramma housing schemes, free power to farmers, 2kg rice etc certainly won the hearts of people but they have failed to reach the needy. With all these schemes, he went to 2009 polls with a promise to continue till the end.
Though he came back to power with a wafer thin majority (this is the first time in AP, a government is ruling with a slender margin) in the assembly and the number went to 155 down by 30. Congress won 50 seats with less than 2000 votes majority. But for Lokh Sabha Congress sent 33 MPs up by 4 when compare to 2004. One has to see these results with a critical and logical mind. When there are simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and assembly in a state, there will be a correlation between MP and MLA seats won by a party. In this case congress won 33 MP seats and assembly they should have won between 220 – 240 minimum on the contrary they won only 155. Hence the votes and seats of MPs won are not of YSR but they are for Dr Singh and Sonia. The Congress high command is fully aware of this fact (hopefully).
Implications of YSR policies and governance on the Congress Party
The congress party known earlier as upper caste party, but after YSR took over it was perceived as true Reddy party. YSR openly inducted his own people in the assembly, legislative council and other plum government posts including DGP and Aviation Corporation MD and VCs. He alienated especially backward classes and madigas in SCs in the political process. There is Tsunami which will surface and hit soon. He also ridiculed and humiliated Telangana people in all respects – be it water sharing, implementation of G.O 610, setting up name sake universities in Telangana, selling people’s land in and around Hyderabad in the name of SEZs. Out of 97 SEZs in AP nearly 45 are located in Hyderabad surroundings and mainly IT and real estate related areas.
Investments in AP: During his tenure not a single large project had come to AP. Instead gas is being taken away from AP by Ambani; minerals in the state are exploited by his kith and kin and brought BJP govt in Karnataka. Spent Rs 600 core of public money to build an express highway to the airport (for whose sake?). The opposition still demands a white paper on his achievements in this area.
Public services: They are worst in the history of AP, be it health services, school education, police. The AP Council for Higher Education has become a broker agency for 500 odd third rate engineering and other so called professional colleges in the name of Fee reimbursement for SC/ST and OBCs is similar to Arogyasree scheme for financing private individuals. YSR govt had given free hand to employees a free hand “do whatever you want but don’t get caught red handed” and GOs issued to this effect.
Welfare schemes: Most of his schemes benefit only rich or corporate in the name of Arogyasree, fee reimbursement, housing schemes, ration cards etc.
Irrigation projects: It is a big joke, Mr Moily writes a book on micro irrigation and dedicates to YSR who believed only in major irrigation projects! YSR govt spent thousands of cores on irrigation projects without plans, permissions and public consent. Politicians conceived and designed all these projects. The latest floods in Kurnool, Mahabuubnagar are the testimony.
Financial situation: Is pretty bad, according to the present CM and former and current finance minister. The only income they are able to generate is liquor as per the plan. When YSR took over in 2004 the liquor income was Rs 3000 core whereas in 2009 it is projected as Rs 12000 core. According to a survey, almost 40% rural youth in AP lives on alcohol!
These are only few major policies and governance examples of YSR. Analysts say YSR would not come back to power in 2014 even if he was alive. He did narrowly escape in 2009 with all these schemes. It a huge task for the Congress High Command for its own making for setting right AP politics and they should be happy that they have another four and half years to go. As of now, looking at leaders and leadership in AP Congress, it is unlikely that Congress would come back in 2014 unless a miracle happens and unless congress high command acts swiftly on the issue of social justice in politics, governance, and punish those involved in scams irrespective of political affiliations to instill confidence in people. Otherwise Naidu need not work hard at all.
There are likely three scenarios/ options for Congress in 2014:
1. Function as they are now and hand over the baton to Naidu
2. Co-opt Chirnajeevi and comrades try to retain power
3. It does not matter to congress high command if AP becomes two parts or three parts as long as they get MPs to make Rahul as PM. So co-opt Chnadrashekar Rao and give Telangana and can cut Naidu to size.
Its a be a big lesson and challenge for the Congress high command in shaping future politics in AP and in the country and also a lesion for other political parties like BJP in particular ( example Modi and Yedyurappa).
– K Sushaker firstname.lastname@example.org