There is a consensus that after 45 days Narendra Modi’s prestige has gone up and he is performing better than expected. It is nearly two months since the two new States Telengana and Andhra Pradesh have been formed. It is time to examine how they are faring. One can definitely assess the two Chief Ministers and their interactions with Narendra Modi and his government and what Delhi thinks of them.
Delhi ignores TAP ( Telengana & Andhra )
In the last two months, it is obvious Delhi has ignored TAP. The railway budget has shown how little Modi government cares for both TAP states and their leaders. The declining prestige of both the TAP states and their Chief Ministers reduces the Telugu prestige everywhere and every Telugu must worry.
If the British used the ‘ Divide and Rule “ policy to rule India with only 8,000 Englishmen , then KCR and Chandra Babu Naidu are dividing themselves and allowing Delhi to rule them , mock them and made figures of fun . KCR and Chandra Babu are temporary rulers. But the prestige of Telugus will be permanently damaged unless they correct themselves.
Both Chief Ministers are very experienced in administration and politics. KCR was a Minister in Andhra and a Central Minister and Chandra Babu Naidu had a long career for 35 years. Both Chief ministers also belonging to dominant castes which are very small in population and yet yield immense power. Both leaders are viewed as very crafty politicians and are also known to “stoop to conquer and then “use and throw “. Both are very successful politicians.
They have lost prestige for themselves and Telugu people. Both are damaging themselves for different reasons and bringing down the reputation of Telugu people…
Telengana Chief Minister KCR:
By having won a majority, KCR is not dependent on other political parties. But strangely, before the results came out , KCR said that he will support Rahul Gandhi for Prime Minister. This showed he never expected a majority and thought he might have to turn to Congress to form a government. By this act, KCR distanced himself from Narenda Modi. This immediately exposes Telengana to less than a favorable reception in the Central Government.
Though KCR has a number of MPs from Telengana, they exhibit no ability or stature thus far. The BJP is not dependent on TRS with its 11 MPs .The BJP remembers very well how KCR made statements that he will control the next government , etc.
KCR has also not played his cards well. Instead of making positive demands, KCR says that what is given to Andhra Pradesh must be given to Terengganu. He has adopted a negative posture. This does not work at national level. Instead KCR should have said that Andhra Pradesh needs all the help it can get. Then he can make demands. He has weakened his image and case by competing with Andhra Pradesh.
KCR is also getting bogged down in disputes, which are really non-issues. By raising petty issues, he reduces his own image. Threats that Telengana will cut of power to the Secretariat and other such issues makes them look childish. Threats to settlers also create a bad image for Telengana. The fight with the media has created bad blood with the national media. The main problem seems to be that KCR does not how to negotiate with a stronger opponent or party which does not need him.
The way KCR is wooing Majlis and other MLAs shows that he fears a political coup at a very early date. He has a good majority and if he governs well, he has nothing to fear. But there are social schisms in his party and he is nervous. So by constantly creating agitations, KCR feels that there will be no split in his government. Like the BJP in Government in Delhi, TRS government does not have any political heavy weights or social stalwarts. Slowly, such weightlessness creates problems.
The TRS government is showing signs of depending heavily on self-centered officials. Officials like to see their governments in trouble so that the Chief Minister becomes tame, weak and dependent on them for advice. KCR’s handling of Delhi is poor. Taking appointments, making demands and threats will get nothing and eventually he will become non-serious player. Telengana will suffer and Telugu prestige will fall.
Andhra Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu:
Naidu is one of the most experienced politicians in India. He has held office since 1978. In 1996, Naidu was coordinator for two central governments. In 1998, he became the main supporter of Vajpayee government and enjoyed total domination.
However, in the last 45 days, Telugus sees two different types of Naidus. Naidu demonstrates experience by talking about all the right things. But whether that experience is enough is debatable. He seems to have run out of new ideas and has surrounded himself by the same people of 30 years ago. Definitely, change cannot be brought by these people. Andhra is suffering from too much experience and nothing new. The old is ruling.
While KCR has less experience, we find Naidu un-fortunately going often to Delhi and requesting ministers for funds. Men of their stature and position must preserve the dignity of Telugus and keep distance. Meeting Junior Central Ministers often reduces their own stature and stature of Telugus. It makes good photo- opportunities for media. But every time, Naidu goes to Delhi and meets Junior Ministers, he loses his stature for nothing. Naidu is more senior than all Central Ministers. Where were they when he became Chief Minister in 1994? By frequently calling on Junior Ministers and bowing before them, Telugus are disgraced.
Nearly 2600 years ago, Aesop’s fables say: Familiarity breeds contempt.”
When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away . Next time however he came near the Lion and watched him pass by. The third time , the Fox went straight up to the Lion and asked him how his family were and then parted from the Lion without much respect .
“Familiarity Breeds Contempt”.
Chandra Babu should avoid becoming familiar. Let his juniors do the visiting. Taking appointments in Delhi and visiting Ministers is a sign of mindless activity and not action. Who can deny Andhra or Telengana a hospital or an IIT? Getting them is routine. It does not require our two Chief Ministers bowing before Delhi.
Just as Congress leaders used to bow before Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Naidu and KCR should not do the same thing in Delhi. Respectful distance must be maintained. Remember, both Chief Ministers did not get appointments with Prime Minister recently. Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not like to waste his time with politicians who meet his juniors. Naidu and KCR should remember that in Delhi people like Jairam Ramesh pose as if they are all-powerful. Many Andhras bowed before Jairam Ramesh and only got a back-pain. Avoid the Jairam Rameshes and “waste candidates” of the BJP.
Jayalaitha and Naveen Patnaik keep a distance and their work is being done respectfully. The BJP is fully aware that it can grow in TAP states. The BJP knows that both the governments got strong oppositions in their states. . In 1998, the BJP felt that Vajpayee government could not survive without Naidu. Now the BJP knows Naidu cannot survive with the BJP. BJP knows that KCR is facing opposition in Telengana.
The only begging bowl which gets respect is the begging bowl of Buddhist monks.
Naidu and KCR should remember that in Delhi they consider all South Indians “Madrasis “. We are all Dravidians and all Madrasis. That is the way the North Indians refer to us in private. Telengana people might think anything of themselves. But they are also Madrasis. What additional respect are they getting since division?
The Pandavas and Kauravas fought each other. But against outsiders, they said we are 105 and kept out outsiders. Can Telugus dream that both TAP state chief Ministers will join forces and help themselves?
- Both Chief Ministers should avoid fighting over police dogs, student scholarships, toilets and canteens. Whoever acts with a bigger heart will raise his stature. The national media and political parties are watching these petty fights with amusement. On January 13, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi went on fast demanding among other things that Rs. 55 crores due to Pakistan be released. Gandhi’s example can be followed by both Chief Ministers and it will enhance them.
- Both states should give support to each other. Together, they have 60 MPs.
Both states should try to avoid cheap issues. They should avoid trying to go to Delhi to get justice. There is no justice except mockery of Telugus. The national media is making fun of the fights over 7 Police dogs and toilets.
- Both states should first try to sort out river, power and other issues directly. Both have no political record of wisdom or stature. Going to Delhi for dispute-settlement reduces both KCR and Naidu and the Telugu people.
- Both Chief Ministers should avoid meeting Junior Ministers frequently in Delhi. They or their officials or juniors should also avoid rushing to officials for justice. They should refuse to meet the Home secretary on problems since he is only a Chief Secretary rank official. They should meet only the top three Ministers in government.
- On appropriate occasions, both chief Ministers should be accompanied by all the Opposition leaders. Both the chief Ministers should meet with respect. This will send positive messages to Delhi.
Once stature and respect are lost, they can never be got back. Image and prestige is everything. Why is Sonia Gandhi fighting for Leader of the Opposition position for Congress? If Congress does not have the Leader of Opposition status, then no foreign leader coming to India will call on Sonia Gandhi. Sonia knows image is everything and foreign leaders must visit her. Perhaps, both KCR and Chandra Babu must change their style and their advisers .They must remember they are temporary, but Telugus are permanent and they should protect their prestige. Laughing stocks are not respected.