YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and '151 syndrome'
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy seems to be suffering from 151 syndrome
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy seems to be suffering from 151 syndrome .Now that people of Andhra Pradesh have given him a majority of 151 in the legislate assembly of 175 he feels there should be no restraint on his functioning either from the bureaucracy or judiciary. Budget is no constraint and funds should flow as required to implement his promises. This attitude seems to be guiding his behaviour either while dealing with bureaucracy or his recent spat with the judiciary.
In bureaucracy only the yes men and sycophants are preferred and those who advise citing the rule and legal position are shown the door . Though there can be no two opinions on the need for judicial reforms and judicial accountability , the path chosen by him to highlight the same is questionable. Within the party since there is a landslide win nobody is willing to advice and caution for fear of incurring his wrath . Such unbridled power can lead to committing of costly mistakes.
But the very basis of this 151 syndrome is questionable. Is it a positive assertion in favour of Jagan Mohan Reddy's party or strong anti-incumbency vote against the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu?
Even in 2014 few months before the election it was generally assumed that the odds were in favour of Jagan Mohan Reddy. The populist path his father followed, and a general impression that he was unfairly treated and put in jail for a longer time than is required created a sympathy factor in his favour.
All this changed the moment separate state was formally announced along with the elections. People's perception of Chandrababu Naidu as someone who built Cyberabad guided their thinking and they felt for a new state he would be the right person to guide its destiny. TDP tying up with BJP, Modi wave across the country, support of Pawan Kalyan ensured a comfortable though not a landslide win for TDP.
But a series of blunders committed by TDP after coming to office created a strong anti-incumbency factor which led to the landslide win of YSRCP in 2019 elections.
A more inclusive governance both in terms of regions and social groups by Chandrababu Naidu could not have created such anti- incumbency factor benefiting Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Hence to think the landslide victory of 151 was the result of personal charisma of Jagan Mohan Reddy may not be correct. There is nothing that a chief minister can do with 151 MLAs which he cannot do with 90 MLAs . In any case state assembly does not have powers of amending any constitution which requires two-thirds majority. In fact managing popular mandate of this size can itself create serious problems for the government in power.
The track record of the performance of the present government of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is not that impressive to give him a chance of repeat performance of same landslide victory in 2024. The charge that Chandrababu Naidu government favoured certain social group in terms of dispensing favours and patronage equally applies to this government as well.
This government came to power promising the moon to the electorate . Fulfilling those promises for a five year period requires a magic wand . Budgetary constraints are going to show up sooner than later. Populism can only take a government to a point . But no further. There cannot be greater populists than Mrs. Gandhi and NT Rama Rao but then it was not good enough for them to win successive elections.
Political scenario in Andhra Pradesh for 2024 is going to be interesting. Much would depend on how deep and strong BJP- Janasena combination is going to penetrate with a positive agenda and an action plan for implementation if they come to power. People of Andhra Pradesh are vexed with politics dominated by certain families and certain caste groups. Ability of BJP Janasena combination to come up with viable alternative articulating the aspirations of politically marginalised communities of Andhra Pradesh would decide the course of future politics of Andhra Pradesh.
(The author is a BJP leader)