By aligning with corrupt Congress that insulted, humiliated and actually taking a party that was born and thrived by being against Congress corrupt politics, Naidu is doing an utter disservice to his legacy
I was in graduate school when N T Rama Rao (NTR) came to power in Andhra in 1983 and still remember how jubilant I was to see the way he fought the long-entrenched Congress and won. It was a great feeling at that time because I grew up watching NTR movies and he was a hero to all Telugu speaking people. NTR transformed himself from a hero onscreen to a hero in politics in Andhra. But that jubilation gave way to deep anger and frustration when he was unceremoniously removed from power thanks to some skullduggery by Indira Gandhi when he was abroad (in the United States) for open heart surgery.
It was during NTR’s third term that Naidu deposed his ailing father-in-law under the pretext that NTR will give reins of the party to his second wife (the first wife had died several years before)
Perhaps one of the most shameful episodes of Indian politics, it showed the extent to which Indira Gandhi would stoop just because she felt threatened by an upcoming leader in one Southern state. She deputed a minister from Karnataka (Veerappa Moily) with money to seduce the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), members. Mr Moily earned the moniker ‘Moneybags Moily’ as he brandished his riches to tempt the MLAs to jump ship from NTR’s TDP.
In a midnight coup, an ex-Congress leader and then in TDP, Nadendla Bhaskar Rao was parachuted into the Chief Minister’s seat by Indira Gandhi. As epithets rained on NTR in the State Assembly, it felt as though it was personally against every citizen of Andhra Pradesh. What followed was a great story of how Karnataka CM helped secure Andhra MLAs to avoid being poached and NTR coming back to power showing that there is still hope for democracy in India if people stand together. NTR dared to be an alternative to the corrupt politics of Congress in Andhra and he showed that with determination one can unsettle the powerful Indira Gandhi.
It was during NTR’s third term that Naidu deposed his ailing father-in-law under the pretext that NTR will give reins of the party to his second wife (the first wife had died several years before). Though he lacked the charisma of NTR, he proved himself to be someone interested in seriously developing the state. He had a vision, a focus on development, improved health care and education and developed Hyderabad’s IT industry. His development and vision precede even Narendra Modi and Gujarat. By being part of Vajpayee lead coalition in 1999 in centre enabled Naidu to develop Andhra more.
It is sad to see someone of his stature bending over backwards to Rahul Gandhi, half his age with even less brains
However, while developing IT and technology he neglected farmers by selling out to big corporations causing him to lose power in 2004. He was in political wilderness from 2004 to 2014 when Andhra was bifurcated and dabbled with third fronts. But after an earful from his close aides, he joined Modi and BJP in 2014 to again come back to power on Andhra side. During the last 4 years, Naidu and his TDP though aligned with BJP and Modi have seen lack of funds being granted by the centre as a reason to part company. His oversized ambition to build a new capital Amaravati and sensing BJP increasingly getting closer to his opponent Jagan Reddy causing him to eventually separate from NDA.
Mistakes on both sides
Both the BJP and Naidu are making mistakes that could only prove costly to the nation in the end. BJP (Amit Shah)’s ambition to weaken regional parties and make them subservient (like the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu) made a strong miscalculation in Andhra and Naidu. Of all the trashy local politicians, Naidu proved himself to be someone who has a vision and could have been a strong partner supporting the vision of Modi for developing the nation. In spite of that, Naidu could have used this situation to create an alternative to BJP that is also centred on development.
But by aligning with corrupt Congress that insulted, humiliated and actually taking a party that was born and thrived by being against Congress corrupt politics, he is doing an utter disservice to his legacy. Throughout history Congress treated opposition like dirt, using them only to overthrow them at the right time. What does he hope to gain? Will a Congress-led opposition save or destroy the nation? It is sad to see someone of his stature bending over backwards to Rahul Gandhi, half his age with even less brains. Even if say, the opposition manage to win what role would he get? Can he not see what has happened throughout Indian politics, from Charan Singh to Chandrasekhar and now in Karnataka to Kumaraswamy? He may be thinking that it will turn out better for him and his party. But let us not be under any illusion that he is joining Congress for saving the nation as he claims but in reality he is joining Congress with the hope of saving his gaddi. In the process, he will destroy his own legacy and the progress of our nation.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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