Dear Mr Naidu, here’s why you’re a hypocrite on Telangana

by Prashant Pandey

Naidu thought he was being clever by using the word ‘immobilismo’ to describe the situation in Seemandhra. There is very little he can be clever about on this subject, and hence this recourse to Italian may be his only option. But really, if he does want to speak Italian, maybe he should learn the meaning of the word ‘Decidere’ – decide, in plain English! Decidere about where he stands on Telengana.

For the media is saying that Naidu is not sure whether he supports or opposes the formation of Telengana. On the one hand we have a Digvijaya Singh claiming that Naidu had given a written letter supporting Telengana. Can Naidu please ‘chiarere’ (clarify) if this is factually ‘corregerre’ (correct)? Equally, all media outlets are saying that Naidu is sitting ‘sulla recinzione’ (on the fence) on this subject.

The TOI writes today: “He remained non-committal on Telangana saying he couldn’t choose from among three of his children”. So what’s the real story here? Is there a conflict between his personal views and his party’s? We do know that Naidu loves Hyderabad and rightfully claims credit for having made the city into an IT firepower. Is it this love for Hyderabad (in addition to the thousands of crores his family and friends have invested in the city) that is making him now hint that he supports a united AP?

Also, can Naidu please decidere whether he has discussed his ‘situazione’ (predicament) with the BJP and Narendra Modi? Because it appears, at least for now, that the BJP is sticking to its declared support for Telangana (we cannot be sure when the party does a ‘salto mortale’ (somersault), as it did with its stand on overturning the SC verdict on convicted MPs/MLAs). Naidu has refused to end his hunger strike.

If Naidu plans to support the BJP, it looks specious that he hasn’t had a conversation with Modi when he famously shared the dais with him recently. Also, can we please know whether Naidu has invited Modi to sit in for a few minutes as he ‘astenersi cibo’ (abstains food…..damn, cant find the exact word for fast in Italian!). Will Modi come if he is invited…..he seems to be going everywhere these days, especially the bigger towns where TV cameras are available aplenty! Because really, it looks like Naidu is playing ‘raggiungere’ (catch up) with Jagan. Even Jagan has reportedly gone back on his party’s support to the Telangana cause, but then that young leader has so much more charisma than Naidu. Why, Jagan has had the guts to undertake his fast in Hyderabad, the epicentre of the Telangana struggle, where there is massive support for the breakaway state.

Naidu, in contrast, has chosen to run away to Delhi – maybe learning from Modi that the density of TV cameras is the highest in that city! Naidu can fast in Delhi, but he is not getting any good press. The TOI again reports that “Naidu stressed that bifurcation of the state needed discussion and debate and inclusion of all stakeholders. But he refused to say which side of the divide he stood”. He must know the Centre has done everything possible to discuss and debate. In the all-party meeting held on 1 August, the subject of Telangana was discussed.

Naidu’s friendly partner the BJP, in fact issued this statement: “BJP demands that the government should bring a bill to create Telangana state in this session of Parliament itself. We will fully support the bill and ensure its passage so that the very old demand of Telananga is fulfilled.” (source: Indian Express). In fact, Digvijaya Singh was referring to this very all-party meet when he claimed that all parties except the CPM supported the division of AP. The reality is that Naidu is squeezed between the TRS-Congress combo in Telangana and a possible Jagan-Congress tango in Seemandhra.

That’s why he has been crying foul about the “fixed match” which the Congress has been staging with TRS and Jagan. Is this why Naidu felt compelled to gravitate towards the BJP? Is it the fear of becoming totally irrelevant in the state that is making him make these frantic moves? After all, his seats tally in the Lok Sabha has come down from 29 in the 1999 elections to just 6 now. His vote share in the meantime has declined from nearly 40% to barely 28% now.

Is it this electoral desperation that is making Naidu so awkward, risking the proverbial “falling between two stools”? Naidu has a lot to think about, and maybe the fast he is undertaking will give him the time to do so. The real truth is that Naidu is looking desperate. Unable to decide where he stands. Politics pushes him towards the BJP, but that party has declared support for Telengana. What will Naidu do now? That’s the million dollar question (damn… do I say that in Italian?!)!

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