Jagan Shows His True Colors

Barely an hour after Y S Jagan Mohan spelled out his stance on the Telangana issue at his party’s plenary in Kadapa district on Saturday, hundreds of miles away, an Osmania University student supplied his judgement of it. “If Chandrababu Naidu’s stance is two-eyed, Jagan’s policy is blind.”

Among Telangana delegates packing the YSR family estate in Idupulapaya, disappointment was palpable as Jagan stepped away from the lectern. The young party president’s declaration was an exercise in safespeak: “We respect the sentiment of the Telangana people but we are neither in a position to grant statehood or block it. It is for the central government to take a nice decision that will not harm the interests of the people of any region.’’ In other words, the serpent shall not be killed nor the stick broken.

On day two of the plenary, there were signals that the Telangana delegates were restive. Several of the speakers from the region signed off their speeches with Jai Telangana. Separatist slogans and placards animated the audience, to which delegates from coastal Andhra replied in kind. After the president’s valedictory address, the placards proclaiming Jai Jagan and Jai Telangana sounded contradictory.

After the plenary, the Telangana delegates gathered round seniors and were consoled. “At least we raised Jai Telangana slogans in the heart of Rayalaseema,’’ one leader from Warangal told his troupe. “If we don’t spread that message, Telangana supporters will brand us as Samaikyandhra people.”Following the example of Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan too lined up his party behind the Congress in a bid to escape the flak that might result if his party took a stance either way. He blamed the Congress for creating bad blood among people of the state’s three regions and said it was for the Union government to take a decision on bifurcating the state. As per the Constitution was it not the prerogative of the Centre to divide a state?

And as has been Naidu’s experience, that kind of stance is likely to go down as veiled support for a united AP. As proof, Telangana delegates pointed to the stress in Jagan’s speech that any decision on bufircation have to protect the interests of all regions. Many of them had hoped to take away something from this speech that would help them generate enthusiasm for the party in Telangana and exorcise the image of Jagan grabbing a flag of Samaikya Andhra placard from a TDP MP and waving it in the Lok Sabha the day after P Chidambaram made that statement of intent on Telangana on Dec. 9, 2009.

After the speech, YSRC leaders from Telangana tried to put a spin to it. Warangalite Konda Surekha said the YSR sentiment was strong in Telangana. All the same, she urged her party president to understand the intensity of the T sentiment. A leader from Mahbubnagar said it was true that support for Jagan in the troubled region counted for little in the face of the Telangana sentiment. But it was not something that could not be overcome by whipping up fervour for the memory of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

That’s the line the YSRC is bound to take in Telangana in the days to come. The party aims to create space for the party in Telangana by harping on the legacy of the late chief minister. As the plenary closed, the YSRC’s mind was still occupied by legacy. It adopted a resolution demanding a fresh probe by a sitting judge into the helicopter crash that killed YSR. Not surprisingly, the Telangana parties slammed Jagan in Hyderabad. The TJAC and TRS said he was only paying lip sympathy to the T cause. “He may not have the power to stall or deliver Telangana. But he has the power to seek Telangana. Why doesn’t he do it?” asked TJAC chairman M Kodandaram.

[Express News Service]

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