The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference:
#CongressMuktBharat is a slogan that has reverberated across the country. This goal is all set to be achieved in the new Andhra Pradesh today. Congress will be literally wiped out of Andhra Pradesh, the same State that sent a whopping 33/42 MPs in 2009, enabling the Sonia-Rahul combo to loot the country.
However, there is danger lurking around the corner in the form of YSRCP. The TDP President calls this the “Pilla Congress”, meaning “Bacha Congress”. YSRCP is an offspring of the Congress, born out of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s desire to become the Chief Minister. YSRCP is not very different from the Congress — it is equally corrupt and dynastic. Therefore, while the dream of a #CongressMuktBharat will be realised in AP to the fullest, the possibility of YSRCP coming to power is a distrubing one.
Following are some approximate figures (final figures will be out probably in a couple of days), as announced by the Election Commission. A total of Rs 269 crore has been recovered by the Election Commission in the entire country, during various raids conducted after announcing the election schedule in March. Out of this, a whopping Rs 129 crore (out of which Rs 108 crore is in cash) has been recovered in Andhra Pradesh alone!
Local news channels are full of news about the shocking amounts money and material flow. Large-scale raids have so far resulted in confiscation of the following items:
2. Cricket Kits
4. Cheap Liquor
5. Lunch/Dinner parties
6. Biryani packets
7. Silver ornaments
8. Some reports indicated that parties were even filling up fuel tanks of bikes/scooters etc!
Tragically, five people died after consuming illicit liquor. This liquor was obtained from the house of an YSRCP candidate’s office. Most of the items mentioned above have been recovered from offices/godowns belonging to the YSRCP candidates or their associates. The scale on which YSRCP is carrying out these activities is simply mind-boggling. We see scores of reports daily on raids on lunch parties, on godowns, even in an engineering college, where material is recovered. Political parties have brazened it out in this make-or-break election. Their behavior will put any mature democracy to shame. Churches are freely advocating voting to the YSRCP.
A car engine catches fire. The car belongs to a company owned by N Uttam Kumar Reddy. The car also has an ‘MLA’ sticker” on it. It turned out that nearly Rs 2 crore in cash was placed in the bonnet of the car, and the paper currency caught fire because of the heat from the engine. Uttam Kumar Reddy is the working president of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. The DGP announced yesterday that this car belonged to the brother of Uttam Kumar Reddy!
This election in Andhra Pradesh must rank as one of the most most closely fought elections. Hence this free flow of money and material. Despite EC’s attempts, it is just plain shocking as to how much of this free flow is happening on the ground. The story of this election has to be the money/material flow in Andhra Pradesh. The headlines must be the subversion of democracy in Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, Priyanka’s innocous remark grabs more space than this blatant transgression of democracy!
All this is fine. Who will win the election?
This election will be literally won at the booth level. A survey by NTV predicted a sweep by YSRCP at the Assembly level. A survey by NDTV has shown gains and a majority for TDP-BJP at Parliament level. The entry of film star Pawan Kalyan has definitely changed some equations, but this election is so close, that it is near impossible to tell which way the seats will go. A gap of a mere 1-2 per cent can result in a sweep of either party. For all that we know, both the NTV and the NDTV survey also might turn out to be true – YSRCP winning assembly and NDA winning LS seats. If there is no cross voting, then TDP coming to power is a possibility too.
Massive crowds have thronged both YSRCP’s and NDA’s meetings in the region. Both parties have gone all out to woo voters – Chandrababu Naidu has promised a slew of freebies in his attempt to attract voters. He went ahead and also announced that he will make two people as deputy CM’s – one from the BC community and another from the Kapu community. The caste polarisation in AP is one of the most under-reported stories of every election. The focus on UP and Bihar in our discourse when it comes to caste polarisation has ensured that AP gets off the hook – the situation is as bad as it is in those states! This is quite evident from Naidu’s proclamations too.
In an interesting development yesterday, the MP candidate of Kiran Kumar Reddy’s party from Vizag, has announced his withdrawal from the fray. He has openly declared support to the NDA. Reports are pouring in that this is the same case at many places across the states. Whatever little number of votes this party would have gathered will now get transferred to NDA combine.
The region has a history of high voting percentage too — some districts had nearly 85 per cent voting too last time. Traffic in Hyderabad is much less than normal today, because it is estimated that lakhs of people have gone back to vote in these elections. It will boil down to the booth. The party that manages the booth better will emerge victorious. Bottom Line – the result can literally go either way!