The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.
The past one week witnessed another hotbed of political activity in Andhra Pradesh.
The below image is a full page advertisement that the Chief Minister put out in various newspapers last week. Various hoardings with a similar image are also seen all over the state.
These are the various schemes that the Chief Minister is taking credit for. These are the same schemes with which the Congress plans to fight the elections in 2014 on "development" plank.
As you can see, most of the schemes are either named after Rajiv or Indira. Some are tactically named as "mother" - any image can be convieniently used for those schemes!
Now, it is customary that the opposition parties oppose these schemes and continously berate them. It is also quite possible that second rung leaders of the ruling party might oppose the schemes for political survival. What's neither expected nor customary is this - cabinet ministers of this Chief Minister themselves opposing the manner in which the schemes are announced and implemented!
Sample two schemes: 1. Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu and 2. Bangaru Talli. The Chief Minister unilaterally announces these schemes without taking the ministers into confidence. Many ministers, including the PCC chief, were severely critical of the CM for announcing Rajiv Yuva Kiranalu. One minister, D.L.Ravindra was the most vocal of all. Over the past one year, he has openly berated the Chief Minister for his style of functioning. When "Bangaru Talli" was announced, DL again went to the press criticizing the program. When the PCC chief was asked about the program, his terse reply was "I will find out and tell you"!
DL also constantly complains that all that Kiran Kumar is doing is to rename schemes introduced by YSR and steal credit. Meanwhile, another minister Mr. C.Ramachandraih, a Chiranjeevi loyalist, constantly tells that Chiranjeevi will lead in 2014 elections. While the Chief Minister tom toms every scheme to be his brain child, the PCC chief and his coterie (which includes the Deputy CM) try to sell them as Congress party schemes! Nowhere are they seen crediting these schemes to the CM - a far cry from the days of YSR.
Unable to take all this criticism from within the cabinet, the Chief Minister sacked DL Ravindra Reddy from the cabinet, while DL was away holidaying in London. This set off another backlash - from other ministers! They were again severely critical of the manner in which he was sacked! Another flight journey to Delhi settled matters in favour of the Chief Minister. So bad was the backlash that the chief whip termed this decision as that of the "high command's" and not the CM alone!
In the last month, 2 ministers had to resign and 1 minister was sacked. Since the second half of the budget session is ongoing, any reshuffle will have to wait till the session is over and the CM makes a couple of trips to Delhi!
The disqualification of MLAs
On June 8th, the Speaker of the assembly announced his decision to disqualify 15 legislators - 9 from the Congress and 6 from the TDP. With this the total number of disqualifications in this assembly has gone upto 34. So why were these legislators disqualified. In March, the TRS and YSRCP introduced a no-confidence motion in the assembly. TDP decided to abstain, because they did not want to be seen as teaming up with YSRCP. So a whip was issued to it's legislators accordingly. 6 of them went against the whip. 9 of Congress MLAs too voted in favour, and hence attracted disqualification.
However, what's crucial to note is that the Speaker gave his decision after June 3 (after following "due" procedure). Since the life of the current assembly is now less than one year, no bye-elections will be held. This essentially means that the half way mark in the assembly is now 140 (as against 147). The Congress has 146 members and therefore is safe for the next one year!
A complete Deja Vu
Today's situation in the congress is remniscient of yesteryears, where infighting and frequent trips to Delhi ruled the roost. For every small decision (including appointments to PCC commitees), both the CM and PCC chief rush to New Delhi to hold parleys with Ghulam Nabi Azad first and madam next (provided she obliges to give an audience). Infact, Ghulam Nabi Azad can double up as the Chief Minister of AP too!
So bad is the confidence of those in power, that they have been postponing the local body elections for a long time, citing court rulings at first and administrative problems now. A whopping Rs. 1500 crore grant from the center has been withheld because of these postponements. The CM himself as announced that panchayat elections will be held in June. We are already half way into June and no notification yet!
It is in the blood of the congressmen to ignore those criticize the Gandhis. None of the government advertisements have the picture of YSR. Most of the posters that congress leaders put up also does not have his image. The open defiance by many ministers (including the Dy. CM and the PCC chief); the frequent trips to Delhi; and the time wasted in infighting is what led to the downfall of the congress many times earlier too, and 2014 will not be any exception. The ultimate loser in all this is the governance in the state, which no one seems to care about!