Battle's lost and won: Now what?


The long-drawn electoral battle is over. Narendra Modi is back in power after a massive mandate.

The long-drawn electoral battle is over. Narendra Modi is back in power after a massive mandate. The Congress was only able to improve their tally marginally.

In Andhra Pradesh too the TDP has suffered a 'never before' kind of drubbing and YSRCP president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy's decade-old dream has come true.

Undoubtedly, the credit for the massive victory of the BJP at the national level goes to the Prime Minister and obviously people have endorsed his much-criticised demonetisation and GST.

In Andhra Pradesh, the walkathon seems to be the mantra to come to power. It happened with YS Rajasekhar Reddy, N Chandrababu Naidu and now Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. But then, the big question is: what is the road ahead?

It is time to put rancour and personal bitterness behind them and move forward and fulfil the expectations of the people. Will Modi at the Centre and Jaganmohan Reddy dedicate every moment of their lives to the nation and the State.

It is also time for both the Prime Minister in Delhi and the new Chief Minister elect Jaganmohan Reddy to follow the mantra of 'Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas' assiduously.

This was not the case in the last five years and though the Central government chanted the mantra, it did not follow it in true spirit.

Its time the Prime Minister showed practically that he is humbler than he was in the past.

The BJP at the Centre should understand that it had won despite the long list of failures on the economic front, open war with alliance partners and religious minorities and not so appreciable good governance only because of the Opposition, particularly the Congress, which failed to establish itself as strong viable alternate government.

The choice was almost nil for the common man. When it comes to Andhra Pradesh, more than people's aspiration of Jaganmohan Reddy being in the driver's seat, it was expression of anger by the people who wanted the TDP to be out of power.

Hence, it is time for the young leader in Andhra Pradesh to ensure that he really stood by his word that he would prove to be a good Chief Minister in the next six months to one year's time.

This election should be a major lesson for all political parties that people should not be taken for granted and they cannot be fooled by anyone.

Another major lesson those in the ruling party should understand well is that unless the leader and the rank and file work with dedication, people will not accept them and will not hesitate to teach them a lesson.

This was one of the major areas where the TDP erred. The party almost lost control over the leaders and their highhanded behaviour dented the image of the party and none of the welfare measures could help save them.

They may try to blame the EVMs, but one should introspect honestly and see where things had gone wrong.

At present, the YSRCP is in a jubilant mood. It is but natural. But as it settles down to govern the State, it would realise that the road ahead is a bumpy one.

The welfare measures introduced by the TDP government had put heavy financial burden on the exchequer. As an Opposition party, the YSRCP too made several announcements.

The big challenge before them is to mobilise the kind of revenue that is required. Secondly, whether they like it or not, they need to take forward the projects like Polavaram.

If they depend on the Centre to complete it, then it would remain a monumental piece and would never become a reality.

Another major issue is Special Category Status (SCS). The Modi government which refused to grant SCS to Andhra Pradesh in the last five years is most unlikely to take a U turn and accord it now.

So, the big question is how the State government would achieve it. This issue needs to be handled carefully. One advantage the YSRCP has is that they are on good terms with the BJP.

But it remains to be seen how they would handle this highly emotive issue. Another major assurance given by Jagan was with regard to filling all the vacancies in the government.

It is easy to promise but the process involved in it and the recurring revenue burden also needs to be taken into account before filling the posts.

The main allegation against the TDP government was high rate of corruption. The YSRCP has tremendous responsibility to ensure that it gives clean governance.

People have bestowed very high hopes on the party and a lot of deft handling of the rank and file is necessary to see that they do not commit any mistake.

What again would matter most is how the attitude the new government would adopt towards the Opposition. If it tries to follow the formula of decimate the Opposition as was attempted in Telangana and try to encourage defections, it would not be setting a new precedence.

In fact, the main reason why Jaganmohan Reddy had boycotted the Assembly was because the Speaker did not act on the complaints of defections and had been delaying action. Hopefully, he will not commit such a mistake now.

They should also take out a leaf from the just-concluded elections at the national level. Rahul Gandhi's entire campaign was centred round Rafale and 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' and that the Prime Minister had filled the pockets of Anil Ambani.

He did not realise that it was not hitting home. The YSRCP government should not try to get into such political myopia and should not indulge in political vendetta.

The entire focus should be on good governance and timely delivery of promises. For this, it needs to have a well-oiled machinery both at the party level and at government level.

We have seen in Telangana that despite taking various measures including making most of the services online, corruption continues at the ground level.

This was witnessed in Andhra Pradesh too during the TDP regime. There were instances where the officials in key position used to sit on files despite clearance from the respective Ministers unless their palms were greased.

Political scientists feel that TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu has a major task before him and ensure that no harm is done to the survival of his party.

They need to be doubly careful from the BJP which may try to use the YSRCP to gain entry into the State.

There is every possibility that they may encourage migrations from the TDP to the YSRCP so that they can fill the vacuum of Opposition as they tried in Telangana and succeeded in the Lok Sabha elections to some extent.

There is every possibility that the Modi-Shah combine would constantly target Naidu. This indication was given by the BJP national president in New Delhi while addressing the victory meeting.

The BJP, it may be mentioned here, is unhappy with Naidu for targeting Modi and accusing him of abusing the Central agencies like CBI, ED and even the Election Commission.

Naidu will now have to shift the agenda towards building a solidarity platform to shield his party and cadre from poaching.

This means he will have to take a massive confidence building exercise and keep the party busy with series of activities and also maintain a hawk eye on their movements.

Ever since he severed his ties with the BJP, Chandrababu Naidu has been alleging that there was a secret understanding between Modi, Jagan and KCR.

He will have to continue his fight against any possible onslaught from this group. In other words, he will have to spend most of his time in fire fighting operations.

He will also have to be cautious as BJP may implement Tamil Nadu model in Andhra to weaken the TDP. In Tamil Nadu, it had an understanding with the AIADMK.

Targettig 2024, it may try something on those lines in Andhra to further weaken the TDP and to consolidate its position.

Not just that, the BJP may even try to gain some good points by announcing implementation of some of the pending assurances from the AP State Reorganisation Act 2014, credit the success to the YSRCP account and try to make inroads in AP political scenario.

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