While Telangana has entered the crucial and final stage of election campaign, the leaders are busy putting on their battle gear and the newly-sharpened swords will be drawn from Monday. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao will go on a whirlwind tour of the State covering two to six constituencies a day. The leaders of all parties, including the TRS as well as the Opposition alliance say that their spirits are very high and it will be a real neck-to- neck fight.
Poll battle intensifies, clamour gets louder
As the battle would be entering the final phase, Telangana will witness a lot of sound and noise as all big-time leaders are set to hit the roads. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi, and BJP president Amit Shah are going to add spice to the election and sparks are sure to fly. The voters are going to have a gala time witnessing the theatrics of all the leaders whether it be the ruling party or the Opposition or even the national leaders.
The new spice this time during the campaign is leaders of two parties the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which were till yesterday considered to be sworn enemies campaigning together. The road map for a joint campaign by Rahul Gandhi and N Chandrababu Naidu is getting ready. The election fever also seems to be slowly catching up in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra Pradesh government does not rule out the possibility of Centre deciding to advance Lok Sabha elections. The talk in political circles is that the BJP will lose Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections. The fight in Telangana is also likely to be a tough one notwithstanding the claims of the TRS that the war would be one-sided.
If that happens, then the State Assembly will also have to go in for simultaneous polls. A couple of days ago, news went viral that the Election Commission had decided to issue notification for Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in February. The Chief Electoral Officer of Andhra Pradesh, however, quickly denied having any such indication from the Election Commission. But this has alerted the State administration which feels that the BJP was perhaps testing the waters. But the same CEO on Friday made it official that there is indeed such a thought and there is every possibility of early elections. The EC has directed the Chief Electoral Officer of the State to be ready to conduct early elections.
The TDP government feels that the BJP which has no foothold in Andhra Pradesh would leave no stone unturned to create serious hurdles for the government and party using the Central agencies since the relationship between the TDP and the NDA government has hit an all-time low, the State government does not want to take any chance and smelling a rat, it has started making some quick moves to keep the party ready for the battle of ballot.
As part of this strategy, the government which felt that the Centre might use or as they say “misuse” the CBI to put them to trouble decided to withdraw the general consent that was given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out search operations in the State without informing the government. This implies that CBI officers will now have to seek permission from the State government every time they wish to enter into the State for official work. The quick move by the government has not gone well with the BJP and the party has been over reacting. They said Naidu was trying to protect the corrupt.
Well, if we accept it for arguments’ sake, then why did not the Centre act during all these four-and-a-half years? Does it mean that the BJP will shut its eyes towards corruption in any State if it is a friendly government and cry hoarse later? Politics is a double-edged weapon and political parties should not forget that all of them are in glasshouse and it is better that they don’t throw stones against each other. Think about nation not just in speeches or words but in deed rather than indulge in verbal diarrhoea. “Work for people and win their confidence” should be their USP for polls. But even after seven decades of Independence, the elections continue to be fought on accusing each other and washing their dirty linen in public.
Coming back to the latest developments, the decision of the Andhra Pradesh government has made it clear that Naidu was serious about taking head on the BJP-led NDA during the general elections. It is in fact, going to be Naidu v/s Modi. The BJP would sharpen its criticism against Naidu and ask him to explain what he had achieved in the last four-and-a-half years. Why did he join hands with a party whom he had held responsible for dividing Andhra Pradesh in most unscientific manner. But then Naidu has taken a step forward and is already in the midst of election campaign in the name of addressing various public meetings across the State and has been trying to explain why he had joined hands with the Congress.
Naidu, who was taken aback by the recent IT raids, has taken a pre-emptive measure to put check to BJP’s political game plan on the electoral chess board by banning the entry of CBI and interestingly he has got support from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who said, “What Chandrababu Naidu has done is right. The CBI receives instructions from the BJP." Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal also supported this remark.
The Opposition alliance is scheduled to meet in Delhi on November 29 or so where in Naidu would include this in the agenda and is likely to get all round support. Now the questions being raised by the BJP is can a State government take such decisions. Well, it may be debatable issue and some one would certainly file a writ petition in court of law.
Now coming to the question Can AP do this? Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act says that consent of State government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction is mandatory. Nothing contained in Section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union territory or railway area, without the consent of the government of that State. The State government based its order on this clause and issued the GO (government order) number 176 issued the GO withdrawing the general consent.