Playing with people’s emotions

Playing with people’s emotions

In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and...

In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison.

Conceit develops a comparison which is exceedingly unlikely, but is, nonetheless, intellectually imaginative. A comparison turns into a conceit when the writer tries to make us admit a similarity between two things of whose unlikeness we are strongly conscious and for this reason, conceits are often surprising.

When a similarity is drawn on a common quality we are bound to be surprised to hear the same. Sometimes they have a shocking effect on the people coming across the same. Well, I cannot vouch for the literary skills of our politicians, but am always surprised by their wit and humor and their infinite capacity for self-deception.

The debate on Special Category Status is one such literary master piece in which our politicians are outsmarting one another. The latest to rock the scene is the submission of the TDP leadership that Special Category Status will be delivered to AP in a different form – a financial one.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. OK. They have all read Shakespeare and so they understand it. But why don't the others follow suit? The Opposition, ordinary denizens and the media of AP? This is the puzzle that confronts the TDP leadership now.

These are the same leaders who argued for the past two years and more that the Special Category Status for AP was a non-negotiable, and hence, there would be no compromise. These are again the very same leaders who insisted that the Polavaram project be executed by the Centre as promised in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 initially. But, because, there would be a delay in doing so, the State government has undertaken the task, they now argue.

Again, if the new capital city were to be just an administrative capital that was needed for the State, it would have been taken up by the Centre in a jiffy by releasing a few hundred crores of rupees for the Secretariat, the Assembly building, the High Court complex and a Raj Bhavan and perhaps, residential quarters for employees.

The Centre has come to realise that a capital city for AP means a real estate venture with overseas conglomerates interests involved in the business and, hence, it is to be kept out of the exercise. The State government now insists that in both cases, the Centre should pass on the funds while remaining just a spectator.

The Union government also has realised that the buzz word of AP government is funds and not the Special Category Status. Though the SCS issue was raised several times by the Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, he was also quite realistic and preferred to read Shakespeare to the media persons at least a year ago itself. The media always knew the preference of Naidu.

"How does it matter as long as all benefits are given to us in a different form as long as AP gets its due without being called a SCS State?" he quizzed one late evening around 9.45 pm here in New Delhi when the media insisted. Back in AP he maintained that he had demanded that the Centre accord the Status at the earliest. As it now turns out to be, the Special Category Status only means a Special Funding Process. This out of turn favour will come with several assurances once again with or without a definite calendar of funding.

Will it be now the turn of Pawan Kalyan to state that both these are the same. If he too follows the literary example of conceit preferred by the TDP, then he would also say "if Special Category Status leads to development and a Special Funding Process leads to development, the common factor being development, the SCS and the SFP are one and the same.”

A common man knows that there is a difference here. These two – the Special Category Status and a special package – are two different things, as different as chalk and cheese. So, it surprises and even amuses us to some extent that the TDP leadership now says that the two are the same. Their attempt to compare the two noticeably unrelated processes makes up for conceits. The conceits in real life may give complex ideas and emotions an air of simplicity by comparing them to simple day-to-day objects.

However, playing with emotions is like playing with fire. Perhaps, worse. The TDP will be realizing this soon. Art of self-deception is no strength after all.There is a much bigger game being played behind the veneer of Special Category Status. A sense of distrust is growing amongst the Central BJP leadership over the moves of its ally in AP.

Though a section of the BJP's state unit prefers to project the TDP as an all-weather friend, there is a gnawing feeling in the back of the minds of those chalking the future course of the party that the honeymoon would soon be over. The sense of foreboding is already there and it is strengthened by the verbal assaults of the TDP leaders against the ally, however mild those may sound to be.

Take for example the Polavaram issue. The central leadership of the BJP feels that the State government had deliberately moved ahead with the construction of the project so that it could conveniently blame the Centre for any delay in future. The BJP and the TDP are not on the same page as far as the plans for the capital city too are concerned.

Even the Union Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, had gone ahead and commented that a capital meant a
"Secretariat, an Assembly and a Raj Bhavan along with a High Court and a few more buildings and it does not require thousands of acres to come up". Venkaiah Naidu was only reflecting the mood of his party in this regard.

Unlike in the past, the present BJP leadership prefers political growth corridors in every State including in AP. It knows that the strength of the party got stunted in Andhra because of the very emergence of the TDP in the past. It is aware of the fact that Chandrababu Naidu would never allow his ally to spread its wings further, immersed as he is in the process of heralding his son's political fortunes, and, hence, it has to bank on someone else. (Evan an actor would do for this, it trusts).

So with the SCS being a passe thanks to the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, all that the Centre now left with is an option of funding the State. To what an extent it would do is to be seen. What would the BJP gain if the Centre keeps pumping in funds at the behest of its ally in State where its own future is uncertain.

Hence, both would prefer to keep people in a state of elevation, above the reach of reason, or of truth, using the prop called conceit, so that they do not understand why something is being done or why it is not being done. Delusion has no certain limitation and if the people can be once persuaded that they are in the age of Harischandra, there is no reason why they would not believe so. Or, do they?

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