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Politics of Swetapatras

Politics of Swetapatras
Highlights

There is still a cloud of suspicion around Naidu’s commitment. The TDP is deliber- ately diverting people’s attention to the in- difference of banks to accept the loan waiver. It is not the banks which promised loan waiver. On one hand the explanation given for the delay in implementation of loan waiver is that the state is just bifurcated.

The release of white papers is an acknowledgement of the circumstances in which Chandrababu Naidu is trying hard to fulfil the promises given to the people. But, this interpretation can be perceived to be true if the Naidu government issues GOs for implementation of his electoral promises along with the white papers. But, white papers are being released. The GOs are no

There is still a cloud of suspicion around Naidu’s commitment. The TDP is deliber- ately diverting people’s attention to the in- difference of banks to accept the loan waiver. It is not the banks which promised loan waiver. On one hand the explanation given for the delay in implementation of loan waiver is that the state is just bifurcated.

The favorable media also dishes out similar such story on a daily basis in a bid to manufacture consent. Indians know Talapatras from ancient days. The ancient Indians used to record their knowl- edge, document their creativity on these Talapa- tras in the pre-print era. But, the modern-day politicians are busy releasing new form of patras.

Chandrababu Naidu government’s tryst with the white papers is now a subject of intense debate and political speculation. The move of the new Andhra Pradesh government is quite intriguing. There are enough precedents in the political history of India. The white papers serve a politi- cal purpose rather than any significant benefit for the people. There are certain situations in which white papers are released.

Situation 1: The opposition is making a tirade against the government for either taking an action or not taking an action. The government is forced to defend its decision or indecision. The things are murky. People are confused. This is the situ- ation in which governments come out with a white paper to silence the critics and put things clear to the people. Such a situation does not exist today as the opposition also wants to give time for the government before launching a virulent attack.

The opposition is also conscious of the fact that the government has just received the mandate and people are not yet alienated from the government Situation 2: When the government is preparing for a massive dose of burdens on the people, the ruling party has to prepare the people for politi- cally unpleasant decisions. In fact, Chandrababu Naidu has a history of taking politically risky de- cisions while implementing reform agenda. The Telugu Desam government has not even com- pleted one month in office. This is certainly not the time for imposing any fresh burdens on the people. In fact, the government is not even in that mood. It is struggling to put things together to im- plement its poll agenda.

Situation 3: India has a rich argumentative tra- dition. In fact, public policy decisions should be taken after an informed debate. The white papers would certainly serve such healthy democratic purpose. But, the political culture in India espe- cially in Andhra Pradesh is certainly not at such a matured level where governments take the en- tire political system into confidence before taking any major decisions. Even the opposition is not ready to show any such gesture. In such a politi- cal context, white papers do not hint at a demo- cratic objective.

Situation 4: Sometimes, there is a specific po- litical context for the release of white papers. A party after coming to power would like to further discredit the party which it defeated. This hap- pens when the party that lost the power is now a formidable opposition. Such a strategy is part of ruling party tactics to pre-empt the opposition from launching an all-out attack on the govern- ment. But, such a situation does not exist today in Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress that ruled the state was decimated in the recent elections. The Congress party is in no mood to seriously present itself. The party is no more a serious opposition to Telugu Desam Party. In fact, the TDP is at log- gerheads with the YSR Congress party and sees no purpose in further attacking the Congress. Then, is this a public relations exercise? The more favorable interpretation would be the fol- lowing. Chandrababu Naidu is sincere in imple- menting his poll promises despite serious hurdles.

He is swimming against the tide. The release of white papers is an acknowledgement of the cir- cumstances in which he is trying hard to fulfil the promises given to the people. But, this interpre- tation can be perceived to be true if the Naidu government issues government orders (GOs) for implementation of his electoral promises along with the white papers. But, white papers are being released. The GOs are not. There is still a cloud of suspicion around Naidu’s commitment in regard to the most important poll promise like the loan waiver for farmers.

The ruling politicians are giving conflicting statements raising enough doubts over the Naidu government’s real inten- sion. The TDP is deliberately diverting people’s attention to the indifference of banks to accept the loan waiver. It is not the banks which prom- ised loan waiver. It is not the banks which reaped political dividend from such populist promises. In fact, loan waiver is against the basic premise of the banking industry.

The banks want repay- ment whether the farmers do this on their own or whether government provides them the strength to do so. The white papers are not just on one subject. They range from power to human resources. On one hand the explanation given for the delay in implementation of loan waiver is that the state is just bifurcated. The government does not have full control over the administration. The Chief Minister does not even have a proper office.

The partition has left more confusion than clarity. Fine, this is the most popular explanation by both party and government leaders. The favorable media also dishes out similar such story on a daily basis in a bid to manufacture consent. In fact, one perhaps may be ready to accept this ar- gument. But, the question is how could the gov- ernment release such exhaustive white papers when it cannot get data downloaded from peri- odic reports of state-level bankers committees (SLBCs).

When government cannot get such basic details about loan commitments from the readymade records of the banks, how it could muster such detailed information to draft white papers. Precisely, this is the reason why one cer- tainly gets a genuine doubt about the intensions behind this spree of white papers. Are politics of Swetapatras black or white?

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