Chandrababu Naidu lost 2019 in 2014
The results of Andhra Pradesh assembly were quite unexpected for many.
The results of Andhra Pradesh assembly were quite unexpected for many. Though most of the pre- poll and exit results indicated a clear win for YSRCP the unprecedented sweep was something no one was able to capture except an agency in Hyderabad who had done a pre-poll survey.
He told me much before the elections that Chandrababu Naidu is in for a big shock and may not cross 30 figure in assembly of 175. When the final results came out the tally was 151 to YSR Congress party and 23 for Telugu Desam party and one seat for Jana Sena.
The result could have been much worse for Telugu Desam had not Jana Sena cut into anti-establishment votes and facilitated a win for Telugu Desam in about 10 constituencies.
For a leader who played an important role in national politics and was getting ready to play and equally important role in national politics, results were a rude shock Chandrababu Naidu.
What could be the reasons for such a catastrophic rout in the assembly elections for Telugu Desam party? As there were a number of causes for defeat of Karna in the battlefield there are also equal number of reasons for Naidu's defeat in these elections.
The strategy with which he started to face 2019 right from the day he came to power in 2014 is responsible for his complete rout in this election.
2009 elections which he lost and 2014 which he won both he faced when he was not in power. Financial strain of facing elections being out of power had such an impact on him he was determined to face 2019 with all resources.
Here in lay the seeds of uncontrolled corruption state witnessed in the last five years. Corruption was unbridled and had different layers.
In fact, in certain constituencies it was perceived as an extra tax in the name of the local leader and his son. In spite of a friendly media trying to play down the day in day out experience of this by the public played a deciding role at the time of elections.
Second important contributor is the local Janmabhoomi committees. Mr Naidu was always obsessed with West Bengal communist model of a dedicated cadre which helped them to stay in power for a long time.
Similarly he wanted to reward his party cadre by giving them the power of selecting beneficiaries for government programmes as members of the Janmabhoomi committees. The selection was never based on objective criteria but on party loyalty.
In a cadre devoid of any ideology they were riding roughshod over the official machinery ,selection of beneficiaries was arbitrary and for monetary and other considerations. This also played a major role in the party's total rout.
The third important factor was both fact and perception in public mind that the interests of one particular community have become dominant in this government.
As I at one time paraphrased Abraham Lincoln to describe this government as a government by all of all but working only for some. There was a certain arrogance on display by some of those close to him which was not even liked with in the Telugu Desam party leave alone others.
In 2004 when he lost elections employees played an important role. This time he was determined to have them on his side. But the instruments used to achieve the same were dubious.
He thought of managing employees by managing the employees union office bearers . They fully exploited the situation to their personal advantage but the employees voted against the government .
The publicity and propaganda of government schemes had no relation to the actual performance on ground. His effort to divert the attention of the people against supposed injustice of the central government in bifurcation issues for state of Andhra Pradesh and linkup Modi with Jagan failed to impress the electorate.
Lastly when he had such specially chosen officers in CMO to advise him on administration side and equally efficient party secretary and programme committee chairman to assist him on the party side does he need enemies from outside to defeat him?
(Writer is former Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh)