Monday, December 31, 2018

We only outrage, we never celebrate

The following article was written for OpIndia. Pasting it here for reference:

When GST was introduced in July 2017, our restaurant bills started showing 18% GST. Many folks started sharing the bills online and slowly a narrative was sought to be built that we are paying an exorbitant tax, now that GST has come! It was amazing to me that how could we forget that just a day earlier, we were paying 21% in taxes (VAT, ST, ST on VAT!). Today, that particular tax is 5% only. If we were so cynical and outraged about being taxed at even 18%, have you ever wondered why we don’t celebrate the lower taxes we pay now?
We outrage when we have new knowledge of 12% tax on Sanitary pads. Yet, we do not acknowledge the fact that these were earlier taxed at 15% and then don’t celebrate when the tax is bought down to 0%. We outrage when our politicians fight against each other, but never celebrate when they come together for 31 times in 20 months to implement the biggest ever tax reform of Independent India.
We outrage when GDP growth sees a temporary dip, but don’t celebrate when the growth picks back within the year. We outrage when don’t find a place in the top 10, but don’t celebrate when we become the 6th largest economy in the world. We outrage when we are ranked 144 in ease of doing business, but remain cynical and don’t celebrate when we reach 77.
We outrage with memes when our Prime Minister travels abroad. We don’t celebrate when India pioneers innovation through International Solar Alliance. We don’t celebrate when India enters into “Currency swap” agreements with major powers like Japan and the UAE.  We outrage when our Prime Minister affectionately hugs other leaders, but we don’t celebrate the many unprecedented benefits of the visits by our Prime Minister.
We outrage on “Made in China” but don’t celebrate “Make in India”. Look around us – today we have almost every major automobile company manufacturing in India (Ford, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Suzuki, Volkswagen, General Motors, Mercedes etc); almost every mobile company is now manufacturing their phones in India; Boeing has begun to manufacture in India; Khadi sales are up – yet we remain cynical when someone comments on Make in India.
We don’t celebrate the fact that thousands of Indians gained employment while constructing the world’s tallest statue of India’s tallest leader. We don’t celebrate the fact that the tourism potential of the world’s tallest statue will create immense opportunities in the lives of many poor. Instead, we outrage. We outrage because our definition of helping the poor is still restricted to giving them free money, so we remain cynical and ask – but how will this help feed the poor?
We outrage on bad loans to industrialists, but don’t celebrate when more than ₹80,000 crores of that money come back into our banking system. We outrage on a loss of ₹5000 crores, but don’t celebrate when Jan Dhan accounts bring in nearly INR 85,000 croresinto our banking system.
We outrage on demonetisation, but don’t celebrate the cancellation of more than 3 lakh bogus companies and their directors. In fact, our media told us that the cancellation of licenses is a veiled threat to comply with the law! We outrage on our informal sector, but don’t celebrate the nearly 8 lakh additions per month to EPFO. We outrage on taxes, but don’t celebrate the nearly 3 crore additional tax returns filed. Neither do we celebrate the savings due to the reduction of the taxes. We outrage on lack of jobs, but don’t celebrate the spirit of crores of Indians who have enthusiastically embraced entrepreneurship through MUDRAStandup India, and Startup India.
We outrage on Air India’s losses, but don’t celebrate when 35 new airports are made operational. We outrage on Air India’s pricing, but don’t celebrate UDAN which enabled lakhs of common people to take a flight journey for the first time, and many times. We outrage during accidents, but don’t celebrate the significant strides made in making Indian Railways safer.
We outrage when India’s National Security Advisor is made to head a key security agency, but never celebrate the efforts he has put in to prevent terrorist attacks in the country. We outrage on how AFSPA is misused, but never celebrate when a conducive situation gets created to withdraw it.
We outrage when we lose internet connectivity for 5 minutes, but never celebrate when more than 1 lakh of our villages got connected with an optical fibre network. We outrage when drought comes, but don’t celebrate innovative programs like Jal Yukt Shivir or Mission Kakateeya. We outrage on poor medical facilities, but don’t celebrate when more than 2.5 lakh fellow citizens get free dialysis treatment.
We outrage on linking Aadhar to our bank account, but don’t celebrate the INR 90,000 crores saved by the government of India, by linking our Aadhar to our bank accounts. We outrage on politicians living in lavish bungalows, but don’t celebrate when nearly 1500 of them are evacuated.
We outrage and ask “Where is my tax money going”, but don’t celebrate when our fellow citizens living in 18,000 villages get access to electricity for the first time. Leave aside outrage, we couldn’t even acknowledge the fact our friends from the northeastern states didn’t even have basic rail and road connectivity as recently as 4 years back. And we are so busy outraging that we forgot celebrating when our friends from North East get roads and railways for the first time.
In the months of October and November, fuel prices touched historically high prices. Today, in December, fuel prices are below what we used to pay in 2013. If you were outraged and cynical about our polity for high prices, shouldn’t you be equally appreciative and celebrate of the low prices today, just in a matter of weeks?
I can go on and on. We outrage. We never celebrate. I only hope that the next time we outrage, we pause for a bit and think twice. Maybe we have more cause to celebrate than outrage.

Why have the lies spread by Chandrababu Naidu gone unquestioned? Why are his false claims on Andhra Pradesh not being challenged?

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting them here for reference:

Ever since Chandrababu Naidu decided to move out of NDA, he has spent his every waking moment telling people that Prime Minister Modi has not given anything to AP. Even in an event where he was distributing cheques in the name of the Prime Minister, he took the mike and said despite Modi not giving anything, AP has progressed well. Don’t believe me? Look at the picture below:
The event is distribution of insurance cheques. The scheme, as you can clearly see in the background is PMJJBY-Chandranna Bheema! PMJJBY stands for Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyothi Bheema. This is a scheme initiated by Prime Minister Modi. Chandrababu Naidu added 2.25 lakhs to the 2.75 lakhs that the central government gives, and added his name also to the scheme. Hence, PMJJBY-Chandranna.
He stood on this stage and continuously berated Narendra Modi, that nothing was done for AP. And the heavily compliant media, could not even point out to the irony of doing this on stage for a scheme that the central government initiated!
I am not at all exaggerating when I say that CBN is spending his every waking moment with attacks on Prime Minister Modi. So, I went about digging out information on what is the truth. I have done a twitter thread on the same, and would like to use the same graphics and data in this article.
Educational Institutes
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014, mandates setting up of 11 educational institutes *before* 2022. Not only have the 11 been established/approved, an additional 5 institutes also have either been approved or established! 5 more than what has been mandated! Please note that this could have been done any time before the year 2022 – and yet we have to continuously hear the ranting of CBN.
The moment I put up the below graphic on twitter, I was bombarded with questions from TDP cadre on how much money has been allotted and in which campuses. I found the argument amusing. Except for a couple of institutes approved in 2018, every other institute mentioned is functional. Classes are ongoing in temporary campuses, until permanent campuses get ready. When will permanent campuses get ready?
Construction can start only after the state government hands over the land along with a fully constructed boundary wall. I had repeatedly sought official documents that can help add such information to the below table – when was the land with a boundary wall handed over to the central government? Needless to say, no answer yet!
Tax Incentives
The promise:  The AP Reorg Act mandates providing tax incentives to both Telangana and AP, “to promote industrialization and economic growth in both states”.
The status: On 30th September, 2016, the central government has notifiedthat 7 out of the 13 districts can avail tax incentives. The tax incentives can be availed by any manufacturing unit that is setup anywhere from April 1st, 2015 to March 31st, 2020.
In addition to this, in the budget speech for the year 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced a special Capital Gain Tax exemption for all the 24,000 farmers who participated in the unique land pooling for Amaravati.
It’s important to check media reports from the day after, when TDP was ecstatic on hearing an announcement that they did not expect!
Development of Backward areas
The promise: The central government shall support the development of backward areas, including expansion of social and physical infrastructure.
The current known status: The central government released a Rs. 1050 crores up until March 2017. The AP government spent only 950 crores up until January 2018. Instead of spending every waking moment berating the PM, perhaps CBN should have spent time in discussing how to utilize already available money!
International Airports
The promise: The central government, shall examine the feasibility of expanding the existing Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati airports to international airports.
The current status: The Tirupati and Vijayawada airports have been declaredInternational airports. Visakhapatnam was already an international airport, and since further expansion is not possible, a new greenfield airport has been sanctioned in Vijayanagaram (~100 kms from current site). In addition to this, 2 more new greenfield airports have been approved. The Kadapa airport has been included in the UDAN scheme, and the Rajamahendravaram airport would be expanded to have the largest runway in the state!
Metro Rail
The promise: The central government shall examine feasibility of metro rail for Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.
The current status: An in-principle approval was given to Vijayawada in 2014. However, there has been a change in the central policy in the year 2017, and a revised proposal is awaited. The Visakhapatnam metro is being planned in a unique PPP model (GO 378 of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, AP government) that was suggested by the central government.
Vizag-Chennai Industrial corridor
The promise: The central government shall examine the feasibility of a Vizag-Chennai Industrial corridor (VCIC).
The current status: The VCIC is in various stages of planning and approvals currently. The Asian Development Bank has conceptualized the VCIC and has approved US $631 million so far!
Funds for new capital city
The promise: The central government shall provide financial support for the creation of essential facilities in the new capital city of AP, including Raj Bhawan, High Court, Secretariat, Legislative Assembly, Council etc.
The current status: 1500 crores has been released for buildings in Amaravati. So far, only temporary constructions are in place. There is no clarity yet on finalized designs for many of the buildings mentioned above. In addition to the 1500 crores, 1000 crores has been released for the capital region in Vijayawada-Guntur. Chandrababu Naidu has admitted in the Assembly that they spent only 22% of these 1000 crores (as of June 2018).
Have all promises made in the AP Reorg Act been fulfilled then?
No, there are some still in limbo. An MOU for a petrochemical complex has been signed, but unfortunately is stuck in viability funding discussion. The feasibility study for a separate Railway zone for Vizag is still under examination. A new port was promised at Duggarajipatnam – however it has been found not feasible to have a new port so close to an existing Kakinada port. The state government has not come forward to suggest an alternate place for a port.
The state government has also been dilly dallying on providing necessary information for setting up of a steel plant in Kadapa. Instead, CBN as usual has accused the central government of not co-operating and went ahead to lay a foundation stone for the Kadapa Steel plant!

Why did the BJP get badly defeated in Telangana? What are the lessons the party needs to learn from this defeat?

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference: 

While many analysts are busy delving into the reasons for losses of the BJP in the three states where they lost power, it is my strong belief that the biggest lesson for BJP lies in its severe drubbing in the Telangana election. You may wonder what lesson is there to learn when the party was nearly non-existent there? That is precisely the lesson the party has to learn from the woeful performance in Telangana. Allow me to elaborate.
What did the BJP have in its favor ever since Telangana was formed? Or what points could it have used to gain in strength, and at least try to relegate Congress to third position?
  • It was the first national party that declared its support for a separate Telangana state (even before the TRS was born)
  • When MLAs from all parties were flocking into TRS, BJP was the only party whose MLAs stay put. None of the 5 MLAs joined TRS.
  • Many central schemes for which they could have duly taken credit. Or even challenged when KCR was appropriating the credit for sharing of some schemes.
  • Active participation in Swachh Bharat.
  • A dwindling Congress across the country. Could have sensed a great opportunity to relegate Congress to third position.  
  • A growing BJP across the country. Could use this opportunity to showcase what the party is capable of doing, if given a chance.
  • Non-dynasty party
  • On the forefront to protest some of TRS’s policies – for example: crackdown on media and protestors.
  • Seriously analyzed the jolt it got during the GHMC elections (Won only 4 (+1 TDP) corporator seats out of 150).
  •  It should have fought for correction of electoral rolls. (For more on this, read this:
Instead, during these four years, what did the party choose to do?
  • Focus excessively on MIM (and Razakars).
  • Focus on celebrating September 17th as Hyderabad Liberation Day
  • Focus occasionally on family rule of the TRS party
  • Almost always react very late to any event in the state
  • Near negligent use of the social media for messaging – it’s almost as if they thought SM didn’t even exist.
  • No articles in the media, a very placid screen presence in TV, no captivating orator to rouse the crowd!
  • Didn’t learn anything from GHMC drubbing
During the elections, what was the party associated with?
  • Razakars and Hyderabad Liberation Day.
  • Name change of a few places.
  • Multiple rallies by almost all big leaders of the party.
From the results, it is quite evident that the party leadership has woefully failed on many fronts. At multiple public meetings, the example of how the BJP was once a 2 seat party in Karnataka and Tripura, and how the party in Telangana will reach to the same heights *in the future* is mentioned. However, the leaders seem to have forgotten that there must have been stupendous hard work AND strategizing that made BJP rule in states that it never thought of before!
Telangana presented the biggest opportunity for BJP to grow. If not to power, at least to the main opposition party. If not to the main opposition party, then at least to double digit numbers. The state unit does not keep pace with the central unit. The speed, the efficiency and the urgency with which the central units work is in total contrast to how the state unit works.
Is all lost? What can be done now?
  • In the words of Arun Shourie – bombard the headquarters! The party needs a fresh face; a rousing orator; an inspiring organizer to take it forward.
  • The election has unearthed many leaders – it is high time they take the center stage.
  • Differentiate your leaders in TV debates – it’s very difficult to tell the BJP spokesperson apart from the others. For example- always wear the party flag/symbol on you – makes it so easy to identify.
  • Go bombastic on a positive message of Modi’s achievements – you will easily find lakhs of MUDRA and Standup India beneficiaries – bring them to the limelight. 
  • Create catchy and attractive slogans. For example, the candidate from Kalwakurthy gave a slogan – “KCR ka maaya, koi nahi paaya” – I wonder why that slogan wasn’t popularized?
  • STOP talking about Razakars. No one cares.
  • Write articles in the print media; question the government *before* other parties react; be in the media every single day.
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA; I repeat again – USE SOCIAL MEDIA! And by this I don’t mean just twitter. Make small video clippings of the points you make in TV debates; small clippings on key speeches by many of your leaders; graphics that show case specific benefits Telangana has accrued because of Modi’s policies.
  • Learn from your counterparts in other states.
During the various exit polls, when someone predicted that the BJP’s strength will go up from 5 to 7, there seemed to have been jubilation in the leadership. I was aghast – is this something to be jubilant about? An increase from 5 to 7 seats? If this is the kind of planning the party is doing, it will take another generation to even reach double digits!
I know the central unit likes to think big – but in Telangana, the BJP must first think of usurping the Congress space. The defeat to Congress is a huge blow to it. Their leaders are down, tired and exasperated. That space is available for grabs – if the party misses this great opportunity, then it will continue to remain a single digit party!

The Election Commission of India faces some serious questions about the issue of Electoral rolls in Telangana

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

Sometime early this year (2018), Congress leader M. Shashidhar Reddy held multiple press conferences accusing that nearly 20 lakh voter names have been deleted from the electoral rolls. Many figured that this is one of those vague conspiracy theories of the Congress party. So while media covered the pressers, it didn’t look like they were taken to any logical conclusion. Also, at that point of time, no one was worried too much because elections are scheduled in 2019, and when the 2019 revised list is out, this can be taken seriously.
Come September, the Telangana Assembly was dissolved. Elections were scheduled for December. Very strangely, the Election Commission insisted that the cutoff date for 18 years of age is January 1, 2018 (for an election being conducted in December 2018)! That’s a full one year!
Announcements were indeed made announcing the revision of electoral rolls, and also urging people to reapply if there is a discrepancy. Once the final list was published, the completely opaque manner of the functioning of the Election Commission has come to the fore.
The first issue is the duplication of names. Allow me to present a couple of examples for Electoral booth number 96 in a constituency from Hyderabad (I have blacked out some information). By the way, believe it or not - The “PDF Electoral” rolls available on the EC site are not searchable via “CTRL+F!! So if you have to wade deep, you actually need to go over the rolls one by one! Am sure if you make this searchable, then more skeletons will tumble out easily.
These are not isolated instances – I have personally known folks whose names have been duplicated in the *same* booth! It is one thing for duplication to be available at different booths (given how many folks reapply once they change their constituency), but what explains duplication in the same booth? Well, today’s newspaper even had a report of Triplication in a booth !
Under these circumstances, how do we trust the Election Commission number that only 48% of Hyderabad voted? Why should we get bombarded with silly comparisons when the base data itself is very wrong? These are not isolated instances, but have been reported on a widespread manner. What recuse would the citizens have once the “final electoral rolls” have been published? Where is the corrective mechanism for the Election Commission to remove these duplicates and triplicates?
The second issue and a much bigger issue is the deletion of names from Electoral rolls. And yet again, no one has any idea why names got deleted! People who have voted for 30 to 40 years from the same constituency have visited to polling booths only to find their names deleted. They had no other recuse. Imagine the sincerity of these citizens who have voted for 30 to 40 years. Now imagine the pain of these citizens to be told that their names have been deleted. Imagine the pain of 92 year old, Sri Y Chenna Reddy whose name was deleted from the electoral roll.
Initial media reports on the polling day focused on how some important people lost their votes – the biggest one being a serving IPS office of DGP rank!
Then came the shuttler Jwala Gutta. And then many many instances of citizens not finding their names in the electoral rolls came to light. The number was slowly touted to be in the 1000s. Today, that number has been rumored to be in lakhs! Well, that is what the telugu media is reporting. Exaggeration or not – it is a fact that thousands of citizens have had their votes deleted from the “final” electoral rolls. You can safely lay the blame on the citizens themselves – why didn’t they check before? Why didn’t they reapply before? And so on. But please ask yourself, how fair is it to blame 92 year old Y Channa Reddy? Or is it fair to blame an IPS officer if the name is deleted from the *final* rolls. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that you can do once the *final* list is out. No one knows the rationale behind deletion of votes, addition of votes, duplication & triplication of votes.
Why should I keep checking multiple revisions of electoral rolls and reapplying from time to time. The Election Commission tells us that legal notices were served before deletion of rolls. Nothing can be farther from truth on this – instead of accepting their lax role, the commission is continuing to behave as if this is a small aberration.
The third issue is the official declaration of the voting percentages. On the evening of the polling (7th December), an indicative figure of 67% was given. We were told the number is in line with 2014 elections, and any revision of this number will not be too significant. After a whopping 28 hours, yes 28 hours, the election commission releases the final figure – 73.2%. Now, do anyone of you recall such a high percentage gap between the initial figure to the final figure? How can such a huge variation be even possible?
And the icing on the cake is that the voting percentage in Hyderabad has been reduced by 2% compared to the initial estimates!
The Election Commission has a lot to answer for, from these Telangana elections. An apology has been issued with a promise to correct these discrepancies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, this issue is more serious than a mere apology. The Election Commission must come clean on how this mess has happened in Telangana. , and how exactly they plan to correct this.

G Kishan Reddy's report to the people

The following article was written for rightlog. Pasting it here for reference:

When Narendra Modi first visited USA in the capacity of the Prime Minister of India, an old photo of him started doing the rounds on social media. This picture was apparently taken in the year 1994, in which PM Modi is seen standing outside the White House as a visitor.
Leftmost in the photo is a familiar face for the people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – G Kishan Reddy, who has now completed his third term as an MLA from the Amberpet constituency in Hyderabad. He had also served as the president of the state BJP but today we shall talk about the MLA Kishan Reddy! I was reminded of this photo while listening to him speak at his “REPORT TO THE PEOPLE” function, which he dutifully submits at the end of each term. The packed hall was thoroughly impressed by the many things done by him as an MLA but also by his attention to the details at this function. 
The moment anyone says CCTV, one of the first things that comes to my mind (unfortunately) is the ecstatic reaction of the social media fans of the AAP about their leader’s revolutionary promise of installing 1000s of CCTVs across Delhi. Many years into his tenure, the leader is yet to achieve what he set out to do; and instead is heavily focused on blaming the Modi government on this topic too. Unfortunately, this was yet again the first thing that came to my mind when Shri Kishan Reddy, through his slide show, told the packed hall, how he helped install a total of 77 CCTV cameras in his constituency. And not only that, the report lists out all the 77 locations, lest we think he went the Kejriwal way!
Kishan Reddy may have well gone the Kejriwal way – blame the government, the police, and the weather – but instead chose to focus on his duty as an MLA and worked alongside with the police to ensure safety of his constituents and this is paramount.
Another topic under constant debate is Swachh Bharat. While social media debates on how to keep the constructed toilets clean, very calmly, Shri Kishan Reddy has arranged for a unique “Toilets cleaning vehicle for Government schools” in his constituency. This vehicle goes to all the government schools in Amberpet daily and clean all the toilets by using the appropriate chemicals and not merely throwing water on the floor and sweeping it away. I found this approach unique and quite result-oriented. While most of us are keen to criticise politicians, it is unfortunate that in this media jamboree we lose sight of these small, yet important things like MLA Shri Kishan Reddy and what they do for their constituents. Even more unfortunate is that all MLAs in the state haven’t learnt and picked up such a unique initiative in their constituencies too, which they should have done by now.
Speaking of government schools, he told us that he constructed 11 new government schools in Amberpet; meets with the headmasters so as to understand the problems (and solutions); provided RO water facilities to the schools and also helped in fixing of drainage issues etc.
One of the biggest successes of the Narendra Modi government is the humongous improvement in electricity situation of the country. When Shri Kishan Reddy told us the details of the various sub-stations he successfully installed in Amberpet (worth ~200 crores) so that uninterrupted power supply is a reality, yet again struck to me as it became only possible because of such dedicated efforts at the ground level, that today as a country, Indians have better access to electricity.
Today, citizens of the country are witness to opposition parties simply going into the well of the house and taking pride in disrupting the house. Shri Kishan Reddy told us that in his entire 14 years as an MLA, he went into the well only once (when an unsavory comment was made on PM Modi), and the first thing he did the next day was to apologize to the Speaker and the House for this! He has moved a record number of adjournment motions and is amongst the top most speakers (time-wise) from the opposition parties (despite the party having small numbers).  I have seen some of his speeches earlier, and they are well researched and are very impressively delivered too (not the first time I am saying this).
The 80-page report is replete with many such success stories – how Kishan Reddy’s fight ensured that Home Guards now earn Rs. 20,000/- as opposed to a mere Rs. 3000/- (And also that Kishan Reddy is the President of Home Guard association); 67 new community halls built for various wards; legal victory to stop the auction of a prominent park + construction/development of new parks, bus shelters, dhobi ghats, crematoriums etc; medical camps and upkeep of various hospitals; laying of new pipelines; skill development camps for the youth; meetings with various sections of the society; and last but not the least, the various agitations he took part in!
Telangana CM KCR conducted a survey (well, all parties conduct multiple surveys, but this one was leaked comprehensively to the press) in the year 2017. In this survey, MLA Kishan Reddy was ranked amongst the top 5 performers out of the entire 119 MLAs of the state. Remember – this survey was commissioned by the ruling TRS whilst BJP was in opposition.
I am well aware that this article might sound one-sided. However, I have no qualms in mentioning that I only wish my MLA to do the exact same thing that Shri Kishan Reddy did – present his report. I have no qualms in mentioning that the citizens have a right to know what their representatives have done and such reports have to be encouraged more, not less. It is important that we know the nitty-gritty of the workings of our representatives, so that we make an informed choice. After all, don’t we want to elect the right log?

There is Zero Ground Level support for TDP’s unholy alliance with Congress.

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

A couple of days ago, Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot visited Vijayawada to meet new ally Chandrababu Naidu (CBN). This was about a week after Chandrababu Naidu met Rahul Gandhi and announced an alliance with the Congress party. During this one week, not a single Congress leader from the Andhra Pradesh Congress has met CBN. One would assume that perhaps they waited for some senior leader to come to Andhra Pradesh and the regional leaders can tag along.
However, when Ashok Gehlot met CBN, not a single AP Congress leader accompanied him. It was only Ashok Gehlot and a whole  bunch of TDP leaders who were eager to be photographed with CBN and Gehlot. An on November 12th, the AP Congress President categorically stated that the only direction from the High Command is to strengthen the party, and there has been no talk of any alliance! Unfortunately, the news I saw (ETV, 12thNovember 8pm news) is not available online. However, there are a few newspaper reports that quote the AP Congress President telling us that “In AP, Congress will decide the fate of regional parties.” The arrogance of Congress aside, doesn’t it strike as odd to you that ground level leaders of the dead Congress party are unable to fathom the deal Rahul Gandhi and Chandrababu Naidu made? What else explains their reluctance to meet CBN till date? Have you ever heard of regional Congress leaders not accompanying Central congress leaders? The level of opposition between the TDP and Congress is very strong and therefore this reluctance is on full display.
Meanwhile, telugu media is parroting and amplifying CBN’s every statement, where he is claiming that he is uniting all parties in an anti-BJP coalition. After meeting Rahul Gandhi, CBN went and met H.D.Kumaraswamy. He then went and met M.K.Stalin. And the entire media was celebrating CBN as the great unifier. And this clamor provoked an interesting response on Social Media. JD(S) and Congress are already in alliance. DMK has been in alliance with the Congress since more than 10 years. Why is CBN mysteriously going around claiming that he is stitching an already stitched alliance? The Congress has already stitched up alliances with the SP in addition to JD(S), RJD, SP, and DMK – what exact role will Chandrababu Naidu play with these parties? Will he now sit and resolve seat sharing issues between these parties?
Earlier, CBN had met Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee. Are we to assume that the Congress and AAP will contest elections together in Delhi? And hope to really win? Mamata Banerjee hasn’t committed anything yet. As of today, Mayawati hasn’t even allied with the Congress in states like Madhya Pradesh CBN is making a lot of noise about meeting these leaders and inviting them to a conclave type of meeting. A lot of leaks are being put out saying CBN is the great unifier. All these silly attempts and statements by CBN are very amusing. By meeting allies of Congress and claiming that he is unifying them with Congress, what exact message is he trying to send?
I had earlier written on how disappointing it was to note that CBN chose to ally with this Congress party. Many old videos were released where he had attacked the Congress party. However, the most revealing videos have been of CBN’s speeches on the floor of the assembly - praising Prime Minister Modi as the as the only PM who bought name to the country; an assembly resolution thanking the PM for granting special package to the state; a challenge to parties to explain to him how special status is better than special package! Just two years back, there is also a TV interview where CBN has called for a permanent boycott of the Congress party! CBN’s current strategy is as disgusting as Arvind Kejriwal’s 2013 strategy of taking help from Congress party to run his government.
While it remains to be seen how this alignment will impact 2019 elections, as of today, there is zero ground support for this unholy alliance that CBN has formed. And there is all around amusement of CBN meeting allies of Congress and claiming he is unifying them!