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A past master at statecraft

A past master at statecraft
Highlights

Karnataka elections have generated enough interest in Andhra Pradesh for the people to be glued to the TVs on the counting day as much as Kannadigas would. The reason is not far to seek. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu,

Karnataka elections have generated enough interest in Andhra Pradesh for the people to be glued to the TVs on the counting day as much as Kannadigas would. The reason is not far to seek. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, has thrown his lot into the neighbour's arena to make it a prestige issue for himself by calling upon the Telugus to teach the BJP a lesson for refusing a non-existent Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. So, what would Naidu do in the event of Congress losing elections there and the BJP coming to power?

Blame the YSRCP for the BJP win accusing it of closely working with the later? Will anyone buy this argument? There seems to be some overconfidence in the YSRCP when it comes to AP ground realities.

Jaganmohan Reddy and his cronies are under the impression that Naidu has fallen prey to their machinations. They are under the opinion that by distancing himself from both the BJP and the Jana Sena, Naidu has lost a lot of ground and that their victory will be easier the next time around. This could be the case if the elections are held now.

Give six months to Naidu and watch the developments. The YSRCP seems to be banking on the past experience for its future win, whereas Naidu is charting his future with his present experience. That is the basic difference. Chandrababu Naidu is no fool to underestimate the impact of Jana Sena and BJP voters turning inimical towards him. It is a deliberate choice he made bringing the SCS theatrics into play ahead of the next general elections. Naidu is clever enough to understand the dynamics in play in AP and has his eyes firmly set on the minority vote now. Naidu is weaving his politics around this vote bank to scrape through.

What Jagan has not noticed so far is the efforts Naidu is making to woo this segment. All that Naidu needs to do is set the BJP cat among the minority pigeons to scare them away from Jagan. The TDP is bound to speak of the YSRCP-BJP nexus more and more and will use every opportunity to sow the seed of discontent among the Muslims regarding the intentions of the BJP and YSRCP. Naidu is also aware of the anti-incumbency factor, hence the move to attract various social groupings with different schemes.

Also, being a master of statecraft, he is very well-positioned to exploit even routine administrative matters to his benefit. Take for example the recent Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) innocuous letter. If any temple gets under ASI periphery it is only for the good of the temple. Yet, the letter purportedly written, not by the Central authority, but by a local official was fully exploited by him.

The Centre suspects that the letter was a deliberate effort to tarnish the BJP image. That’s Naidu sleight! One does not underestimate him and win. His Karnataka call is also a loaded one. BJP wins or loses, Naidu will try to turn it into his advantage.

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