The ongoing battle in Seema-Andhra is clearly between the Telegu Desam Party and the YSR Congress. Both parties are doing their best to seize the advantage and the misery of the Congress which is now being accused of splitting the state. Vicky Nanjappa reports
The YSR Congress, which was riding high on late former chief minister Y S Rajasekara Reddy’s sympathy wave and the ‘misdeeds’ of the Congress against their family, has taken a change of stand. Vijayamma, Rajasekara’s widow, and now the honorary president of the party has entered her second day of a hunger strike demanding that the state remain united.
The TDP on the other hand has been carrying out dharnas and protests across the two regions and have been echoing the cause for a united Andhra Pradesh.
Congress leaders on the other hand are finding themselves in a situation that was similar to what the Telangana members of Parliament had faced some time ago. They cannot return to their constituency and see that their political prospects are falling apart because of the announcement on Telangana. They are under a lot of pressure to resign, but have been holding back as they feel they could bargain better if they are in power.
Vijayamma on the other hand, drew an impressive crowd at Guntur as she began her hunger strike which she calls ‘Diksha’.
“Leave the state united if you cannot solve the problem of the people,” is her slogan. There is a lot of heartburn in Seema-Andhra and life has come to a standstill ever since this announcement has been made, she tells her followers.
An association called the Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers has decided to use the services of both the YSRCP and the TDP to further their agitation. Both parties have readily agreed to be part of this struggle, although the YSR Congress appears to be more vocal when compared to the TDP about the cause for a united Andhra Pradesh.
Vijayamma says is that her late husband loved all the regions and did everything to keep the state united.
“Development can be done only by providing infrastructure equally to all regions. Division is not the solution at all,” she points out.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu on the other hand has been on and off on these issues. He does speak about development of all regions, but does not say in as many words that he stands for a united state. According to political experts, he still expects a couple of seats in Telangana too.
The YSR Congress has however decided to go all out on the issue. They have realised in the local body elections that they stand nowhere in the electoral race in Telangana and hence it would be best to focus only on Seema-Andhra where they put up a good show.
The sacking of Konda Sureka, the sole Telangana supporter in the YSR Congress party was one such ploy to further the Seema-Andhra cause. She slammed YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy for going back on his word on Telangana, and the timing was excellent since it happened a day before the announcement on Telangana was made.
The YSR Congress did not want any sort of confusion and decided that the only cause they would speak about is a united Andhra Pradesh. Even if the state is split, they would still have the goodwill of the Seema-Andhra people as they are the only ones who have been most vocal about keeping the state united.
The government employees of Seema-Andhra who are relying heavily on the YSR Congress party feel that this is a long-drawn battle and there is a need for political support as was the case in Telangana. The YSR Congress has grabbed this opportunity and extended its full support to an indefinite strike from the first week of September.
The TDP and the YSR Congress are in a close contest and some surveys indicate that these parties would get 13 and nine seats respectively in Seema-Andhra. The Congress on the other hand has been given three seats. A lot would depend on the cause for a united Andhra Pradesh and the one who makes the loudest noise wins the elections according to political experts in the state.
Image: YSR Congress honorary president YS Vijayalakshmi
Photo courtesy: YSR Congress website