Chandrababu Naidu Vs Narendra Modi: Both baying for blood
Chandrababu Naidu Vs Narendra Modi: Both baying for blood

What will be the fate of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu if BJP wins the elections in Karnataka?
The question is uppermost in the minds of the people for various reasons.  In AP, already both the TDP and the BJP are publicly indulging in sabre-rattling. Earlier, the statements of the leaders of the two parties were like routine rapier thrusts. But not anymore with leaders warning Naidu that they would make him eat a humble pie, once they win the election. They indicate to him that the time of reckoning has come and that he should get ready when the BJP begins payback.

In the halcyon days when Chandrababu Naidu and Narendra Modi used to greet each other with hugs and high fives, they looked like a deadly combination, and it was believed that together they would convert AP into a land of milk and honey. But it did not work that way for various reasons. After the initial euphoria of winning the election had died down and when the BJP got down to the brass tacks, it saw no reason why it should go out of the way to help AP where it is still not out of its diapers.

Naidu, on the other hand, wanted more and more from the Centre so that he can grow strong as BJP would not be a force anyway and all that he had to do was to watch out for YS Jaganmohan Reddy, which initially appeared to him as no more than a child’s play. But his calculation went awry and he snapped his relations with the BJP after travelling with it for four years.

Describing the BJP as a betrayer, for not according special category status and for not redeeming a host of promises made in the AP State Reorganistion Act, he snapped the alliance in the hope of stealing a march over Jaganmohan Reddy who had by then covered a vast ground, after converting SCS into a potent political weapon.

Naidu and Modi, once bosom friends, are arch-rivals now.  Naidu suspects BJP is out to play its Tamil Nadu formula once again using YSRCP and Jana Sena as its front. Naidu points to YSRC’s soft corner for BJP and Pawan Kalyan’s deliberate attempts to steer clear of BJP on SCS issue as proof that they are all comrades in arms. Even before Karnataka elections were announced, the battle lines were drawn clearly – on one side was Naidu and the other side – YSRC and Pawan Kalyan with the “covert” support of BJP.

Taking umbrage to Telugu Desam‘s campaign against the BJP in parts of Karnataka where Telugu population is more, the BJP leaders warned Naidu of consequences. Squirming in their seats and unable to digest the unforeseen development of TDP taking a plunge into electioneering in Karnataka. saffron leaders kept attacking Naidu, going to the extent of warning him using idioms which roughly translate to telling him that they would go for his guts for the garter for his anti-BJP rant.

With Telugu Desam Party workers attacking BJP president Amit Shah’s convoy a couple of days ago at Alipiri in Tirupati, the Centre now has an excuse to go against the TDP government. Already, the central home ministry had sought an explanation from the state police on security lapses at Alipiri.

The Telugu Desam leaders are already making accusations that Modi had asked his all-weather friend Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to reopen cash-for-vote scam against Naidu, and, they wonder what else would follow, given, according to them, the BJP’s predilection for using investigation agencies against its adversaries to wreak political vendetta.

The TDP leaders feel that if the BJP bites the dust in the Karnataka election, Naidu would become stronger and his voice would be heard all over the country when he paints the BJP as the betrayer of Andhra Pradesh’s interests. Since Naidu has appeal outside his state, his words would carry weight and to this extent, the BJP’s image would be further sullied.

In this scenario, it is believed that the BJP would go slow but if the BJP wins the election, it would be a new ball game altogether.  It might resort to political misadventures against Naidu since it has nothing to lose electorally in AP even if it considers the prospect of damage to its image. The BJP would be able to get the satisfaction of avenging Naidu’s action of stepping out of NDA which had eroded the BJP’s image significantly across the nation lately.

But Naidu does not appear to have been flustered with the warnings of the BJP leaders, even to the statement that he would be facing the music soon after the Karnataka elections for the kind of campaign of calumny that he had carried out against the BJP. He has warned the BJP and the Centre that it would have to cower in fear when the entire Telugu race turns against them.  

The Telugu Desam Leaders continue to be combative saying that if the BJP resorts to any action against Naidu, since its leaders had been talking of corruption in the state government lately, it already has ammo with them. They say they would raise the question of how Modi who professes to be dead against corruption could campaign in Karnataka with “tainted” BS Yeddyurappa or allotting tickets to the supporters Gali Janardhan Reddy against whom the CBI’s case is still alive.

By R Prithvi Raj