The leaders of YSR Congress are crying foul over the other opposition parties like the Congress, Jana Sena and the Left parties refusing to extend support to the bandh call given by YS Jaganmohan Reddy to protest against the BJP led central government denial of special status and the state government led by TDP failing to get such a status for Andhra Pradesh.
Firstly, there is a difference in the stand taken by the congress on one side and the Left parties and the Jana Sena on the other. While the congress took a hostile stand and opposed the bandh call given by the YSR Congress, the CPI and the CPI(M) along with the Jana Sena though did not take a hostile stand , have refused to endorse the bandh call .
The YSR Congress never took any initiative in the last four years to build all opposition crusade against the party in power. Being the major opposition party , it was the moral responsibility of YSR Congress to invite a joint opposition campaign against the TDP government. However for the reasons best known to it, the YSR Congress has all along been taking a unilateral stand and refused to rally the other opposition parties. This was despite the YSR congress supporting the bandh call given by the Left parties and the civil society groups on the special status issue.
The politics behind it is simple. The YSR Congress feels that the special status would deliver political dividend. Therefore, the party wishes to monopolise any anti establishment sentiment in its favour.
Similarly, this time too, the YSR Congress has not consulted the Congress , Jana Sena or the Left parties before announcing its bandh call. After, calling for the bandh, the YSR Congress reportedly called the leaders of the Left parties to seek their support. Such display of politician one-upmanship might have infuriated other opposition parties and thus they refused to join in any anti government protests , especially planned struggles under the leadership of YSR Congress. Instead, these opposition parties would have preferred joint opposition struggles for which the YSR congress is not ready for.
Meanwhile, the congress feels that the special status would be an opportunity for its revival after it got decimated due to bifurcation of the state. The party is trying hard to sell a narrative to voters that it alone can deliver special status as the neither of the regional parties can form a government at the centre to accord such a status to Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, the congress does not wish to give any advantage to YSR congress in this regard.
Besides, the Congress with its strategy of Ghar Vapsi plans to strengthen. The former chief Minister and the protagonist of united state Kiran Kumar Reddy has already come back to Congress. The Andhra Pradesh Congress leadership feels that many would do so in near future. The congress can only hope to get the voting and the cadre from YSR Congress as it is the party that has poached the grand old party post bifurcation. Therefore any truck with the YSR Congress is considered by the Congress as defeating its attempts to get back the voting and the cadre lost to YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
On the other hand, the Left parties are trying to build an alternate political platform opposing the four parties, the TDP, YSR Congress, the BJP and the Congress. The Left has invited Janasena and the Lok Satta besides other smaller groups and individuals to join such an alternate political platform. As the bandh is just before the ensuing elections, the Left prefers to demarcate from the YSR Congress though it is not averse to join hands with others on public issues. In fact, the Left parties have postponed the activities scheduled for the bandh day.
Thus, as the special status issue assumes political character, every political party would like to see any protest on the issue from a political and electoral prism only.
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( Prof.K. Nageshwar is India’s noted political analyst. He is a former member of the Telangana Legislative Council and professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India )