The State Government is getting ready for its maiden budget session, which will begin on March 6 at the newly constructed Assembly building at Velagapudi. When Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the new block which houses the Assembly and Council on Thursday, it marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the reorganised State of Andhra Pradesh.
The swanky complex which is on par with international standards, for a while blotted out the visions of the State going through an acute financial crunch with cash cow Hyderabad going to Telangana when the State was divided.
Naidu appeared to be walking on the moon while he was going around the block with his MLAs and officials in tow.
It is more than certain that this festive atmosphere will be a short-lived affair. The bonhomie and the light-heartedd banter would not continue for sure when the budget session begins. The Opposition YSR Congress, which is breathing fire at Naidu, is waiting impatiently for the day to expose what it considers his ‘dictatorial’ ways and his officials’ ‘draconian’ rule.
Apparently to prepare his ministers for attack, Naidu had a video played at the Cabinet meeting which he presided on Thursday, relating to YSRC chief Jaganmohan Reddy’s confrontation with doctors and District Collector Babu A at the hospital for all the members to watch, after the ghastly bus mishap at Mullapadu.
Some members of the Cabinet, obviously with an intent to earn some brownie points with him, suggested slapping more sections of the IPC against Jagan as the case that is now registered against the Opposition leader was not strong enough, while others suggested that the suspension of YSRC MLA RK Roja, who happens to be Naidu’s gadfly, be further extended beyond one year.
The YSRC and TDP are sure to take this verbal artillery into the Assembly and no one knows whether the budget session would transact any useful business for which an elegant building with all modern trappings has been built. The YSRC appears to be eagerly waiting to rake up the issue of not only Diwakar Travels bus tragedy, but also the ‘kidnap’ of Roja by the police while she was on her way to attend National Women’s Parliament and the Assembly Speaker’s allusion of women to cars in garages, which had become a subject of heated debate all over the country.
The YSRC is also keen on focusing on how the Telugu Desam Party Government had prevented Jagan from taking part in a Jallikattu like protest for special category status for the State at RK Beach in Visakhapatnam a couple of days ahead of the commencement of the Partnership Summit in January and how the police had sent the Opposition leader and his entourage back to Hyderabad in a return flight.
Not to be outdone, the TDP is also sharpening its weapons at its strategy meetings. The TDP which believes that offence is the best form of defence, is ready to take the Opposition head-on, giving little room for it to get even a word edgeways.
The TDP legislators are determined to show the YSRC its place. It is said the TDP is training at least 10 MLAs to unleash torrents of invectives against Jagan. Naidu appears to have decided to review the performance of the party in attacking Jagan at the end for each day and suggest improvements if necessary.
In the State, the high-octane offensive and counter offensive by both the TDP and the YSRC to settle political scores are preventing them from attending to issues that concern people in general. Even if the government really wanted to do something for the victims of the bus tragedy, it could not get around to doing it since everyone, including the officials and policemen, were busy slamming the YSRC and Jagan.
A slip like this has a potential of making an indelible imprint on the minds of the people that the government would protect its men even if when they are responsible for major tragedies.
What is even more disconcerting is that both the TDP and the Opposition appear to be not rising to the occasion of giving priority to the issues that concern people as each one looks at the other as its arch enemy rather than a political adversary.
Naidu and Jagan hate each other’s guts and as hatred intensifies, it is bound to distort one’s vision, making it difficult for either of them to recognise the merits of the other and on the contrary would only exacerbate the situation.
The TDP slamming Jagan and the YSRC chief damning Naidu and his media unit writing stories against Naidu everyday as if there are no other issues in the world, is undoubtedly a sad narrative on the truncated Andhra Pradesh’s experiments with democracy.