Political heat wave in AP over Special Status Issue

Andhra Pradesh is suddenly in the grip of a political heat wave on the contentious issue of Special Status Category to the State as was promised while introducing the AP Reorganization Act in Parliament in 2014 for bifurcating then united Andhra Pradesh into two Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Though the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had made it clear, tough in so many words, that question of bestowing the Special Status to AP is ruled out, the issue undoubtedly provided the needed ammunition to  YSRCP president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and Jana Sena president Pawan Kalyan to target Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and remain in limelight with an eye on the 2019 elections. Both Jagan and Pawan Kalyan have become popular in their own way in their respective fields — the former as a ” Rebel Star” in politics and the latter as ” Power Star” in the film field. And there is no denial of the fact that both the stars have set their eyes on the CM’s gaddhi and have been trying to exploit every given opportunity to project themselves as mass leaders championing their cause

Thus with both Jagan and Pawan Kalyan vying with each other to champion the cause of special status for Andhra Pradesh, the political atmosphere in the State has suddenly began to warm up. However, the announcement of Jagan at a youth rally in Kurnool on Tuesday that his party MPS would resign from Lok Sabha if the Central Government fails to accord Special Status to the State during the ensuing winter session of Parliament. Jagan asserted that resignation was the only option now left with the party to mount pressure on the BJP Government at the Centre to concede to the demand for special status.

Though YSRCP leaders proclaim that the resignation of party MPs would be a major political sacrifice for the State’s cause, there seems to be more to it than meets the eye in Jagan’s announcement. It is pertinent here to recall the desperate attempts of Jagan, as Leader of the Opposition, to remain in limelight by garnering publicity in ensuring a logjam of the Assembly session on the issue. However, the unruly drama enacted by him and his party legislators on the floor of the Assembly, has only backfired as it only had helped Chandrababu Naidu to gain sympathy of becoming a victim to unwanted bullying by his adversaries.

After his tryst in the Assembly to paint Chandrababu Naidu as a villain of the State boomeranged, Jagan has taken to the streets organizing rallies and public meetings to “expose the failure of Naidu government in protecting the interests of the State”. In the mean time,  Pawan Kalyan, who has also been desperate to keep his political outfit Jana Sena alive, found the special status issue as a tool to project himself as a mass leader. Accordingly he organized a public rally in Kakinada to reiterate the demand for a special status to AP. On this occasion, the emotionally surcharged film star wanted all the MPs from the State to resign from Parliament to bring pressure on the Centre and declared that he would ensure re-election  of those, who resign and take to streets for the special status demand.

While Pawan Kalyan’s call for resignation of the MPs was not directed against any particular political party, Jagan was quick to exploit it as he was  very well aware that the MPs belonging to the ruling TDP and its ally BJP would not fall a prey to the power star’s call and resign. Accordingly in a one-upmanship move, he declared that his party MPs would quit if the Centre fails to concede to the demand for special status during the ensuing winter session of Parliament. Even if the Centre does not succumb to these threats, YSRCP would try to contest the by-elections expecting support of Pawan Kalyan.

However, even if Pawan Kalyan, who has extended support to TDP and BJP in the 2014 elections in accordance with the wishes of Narendra Modi tried to avoid aligning with Jagan due to his close proximity with Chandrababu Naidu and BJP, the YSRCP would still try to cash in on the situation by projecting itself as a victim of deceit by TDP-BJP combine having the tacit support of the Central government. Thus in the event of an expected  by-elections if the MPs resign and also in the coming general elections in 2019, Jagan seems to be planning to go to the masses as a champion for the cause of special status while the TDP and BJP have ditched them in this regard. But one important and interesting aspect being watched by all would be whether in this battle for supremacy what role Pawan Kalyan would play . In the mean time amidst all these behind-the-scene dramas to capture power, the political atmosphere is undoubtedly getting hot. (NSS)