Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has successfully thwarted an attempt by Telugu Desam president Chandrababu Naidu to arm-twist the State of Telangana.
It is not for nothing that Chandrababu Naidu, the Machiavellian politician, has offered an olive branch to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which the latter refused to accept.
Ever since the States were separated and two governments were formed in June 2014 with TRS at the helm in Telangana and the TDP, in Andhra Pradesh, the journey of their relationship between the two States has been on a bumpy road.
AP refused to start work on its new Capital city, arguing that Hyderabad is the joint capital for both States for 10 years. The existing secretariat building too was bifurcated into two parts with two different entry/exit gates.
Even now, the distribution of 109 institutions mentioned in Schedule IX and X in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act remained a knotty issue between the two States.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister went on to talk about the implementation of Section 8 of the Act, Governor’s control over law and order in the Capital city and setting up of police stations for the people of AP. Besides, leaders of the TDP began talking about the rights of Andhra Pradesh using the 10-year window period for the Capital city allowed in the reorganization process.
Meanwhile, Naidu opened a Pandora’s Box on the very next day of announcement of election results by luring MP SPY Reddy, who was elected on the YSR Congress ticket from Nandyal Lok Sabha seat, into the TDP, paving the way for many others to join the ruling party. Why Naidu began the psychological warfare on the Opposition in his State is beyond anybody’s comprehension. For, he has the numbers on his side.
Meanwhile, this resulted in many of the MLAs from the TDP and also the Congress quitting their parties and joining the TRS in Telangana. Though the TDP initially cried hoarse over this, it did not gain credibility for it was that party which had opened the floodgates for this floor-crossing first in Andhra Pradesh.
Cash for vote case
Meanwhile, the “back-stabber” in Naidu, who is always at work, nursed an ambition to test the waters whether the TRS could be subjected to the same act he had done to his father-in-law and founder president of the TDP N T Rama Rao. Accordingly, some key confidants from within the party have entrusted the task of “administering the test dose” by luring the Anglo-Indian MLA Stephenson into the TDP and make him vote for the TDP candidate in the MLC elections.
However, the handing over of an advance sum of Rs 50 lakh in several wads of currency to the MLA were video-recorded in which then TDP MLA and now Congress leader Revanth Reddy was caught red-handed and the telephone conversation by Naidu with MLA Stevenson leaked to the media. With this, the whole exercise got petered out.
While the investigation was in the process, Naidu initially tried to put up a brave front saying “if you have ACB, even I have ACB,” and “if you have police, even I have police”, etc. He also had cases of telephone tapping filed against Telangana leaders and officials and began publicizing the same through his friendly media mouthpieces. However, this did not cut much ice with people.
HQ moved to Amaravati
While the investigation is on, Naidu shifted his base from Hyderabad to Amaravati and slowly the Secretariat too was moved and many offices were shifted out of Hyderabad. This eased tensions between the States to a large extent. As a first move in smoking a peace pipe, Naidu called on KCR and invited him to attend the foundation-laying ceremony of the new Capital. Naidu had Prime Minister Modi do the honours of laying the stone and KCR promptly attended it, drawing public applause from the people of the neighboring State.
Typical of a politician that he is, Naidu has always tried to be “pally” with KCR. But, surely it has never been seen as a wholehearted attempt. His offer to work with KCR is politically disastrous, more for the latter and less for the former. Naidu can use his media mouthpieces to blow his trumpet and how imperative it would be to work with the neighbouring State which was part of AP till recently, for the distribution of assets and also smooth sailing in administration. This way, Naidu planned to arm-twist KCR, once he falls into the trap, to remove hurdles in drawing more water than allocated from the Krishna and the Godavari too, apart from usurping more benefits from Telangana.
KCR saves Telangana
But what saved Telangana from this mega conspiracy? The answer is simple. It is KCR’s vision and farsightedness that insulated the State of Telangana from the machinations of the TDP Supremo. If KCR had budged to the pressure mounted by Naidu for working together, the latter would have embarrassed the Chief Minister to kowtow to Naidu’s “self-proclaimed” attribute of creation of Cyberabad and developing a greenfield airport and Outer Ring Road and other things, which is half-truth in some cases and a blatant lie in others.
KCR, with his grit and determination to stay “fiercely independent” of any other political party or influence, retained the self-respect of the people Telangana and he proved it beyond any doubt.