Monday, June 18, 2012

AP By-polls: A Jagan vs. Goliath tale

It has been almost 3 years since my post on YS JaganmohanReddy’s handling of the political drama after YSR’s death. The naked ambition and intensity for power in display then by Jagan sustained to fructify into win in 15 Assembly constituencies and 1 parliamentary constituency now.  Even as he is seen battling umpteen charges of corruption while in jail, the party he founded decimated the Congress and TDP in the by-polls.

So what hit the Congress and the TDP the most in the recent by-polls in Andhra Pradesh? Their challenger Jagan was in jail for 15 days before the election making his YSR Congress party literally leaderless. He was interrogated quite publicly, shifting the venues of his interrogation every day and every detail about it was shared with media so that they cover it and publish for the public. Every detail about his arrest and interrogation was made public to create the image of a scamster and a criminal. His properties were attached and other ministers were jailed and interrogated just to send the message out that any minister/MLA who would side with his party would accompany him to jail. His connections with hardcore criminals involved in murders and extortion were made cover stories and prime time news in the powerful pro-TDP print and electronic media, just to remind the public what a devil is, the person they are going to vote is. Yet, the voters elected the devil. Or was it David, as in David and Goliath?

The whole joint exercise of Congress high command, TDP and the powerful pro-TDP media blew up and boomeranged. While these parties wanted to make corruption as the election issue, the core issue subconsciously for the voter has been the unethical nexus of the 2 established 'mainstream' parties and how they launched a witch-hunt against one man, an emerging third party. Too much CBI, too much media, too many speeches about ethics and corruption from Chandrababu, Chiranjeevi and Botsa (interestingly, who all have CBI or other investigative agency behind them in some or other corruption case) etc and their concerted attack on Jagan made the voter feel fishy about the situation and sympathize with the 'underdog' Jagan. In short, Jagan, who already has the financial wherewithal also, was unwittingly made to look like a victim and an underdog by the actions and over enthusiasm of Congress, TDP and the corrupt media. He reminded the voters about the historic NTR's challenge to the then mighty Congress way back in 1984. And naturally the voter sympathized with the uncompromising Jagan in this David vs. Goliath story.

As I posted last, the vote for YSR CP was due to lack ofalternatives. As far as the voter is concerned, there was no difference between these traditional parties and Jagan. 49% voted for Jagan (Congress and TDP polled 22% each) as he was seen as a victim braving the odds! Combined with that the traditional congress voters who believed he is the 'leadership material', in this age when parties seem to driven by secret pacts between them and empty rhetoric about public issues. Ever since his father died, Jagan was on road connecting with masses on issues related to different strata of society like students, farmers etc. which made him look like a 'doer' while Chandrababu's attempts to ape him looked uncharacteristic and forced.  With the Congress deciding to attack the ills of YSR rule while claiming credit for the ‘welfare programs for poor’ he launched, not a single Congress leader sounded sincere in their attack on Jagan.  By jailing him, the Congress and TDP could slow down the exodus of MLAs and cadre from their parties but could not stop the migration of votes. YSRCP may or may not retain the voters into the future, but it is unmistakably a permanent third force in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. And as well be the future Goliath.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it good or bad, though I agree the verdict is more because of lack of any other alternative?

My opinion, it reflects the pitiful state of affairs of state politics. I have no doubt that MLAs would flock his party and in no time he would be the next CM. Said that, I just hope he will show the same acumen in developing the state as he showed in developing his personal net worth.