9, ఫిబ్రవరి 2011, బుధవారం

Cong-PRP merger: A boon or bane? -Bhandaru Srinivas Rao

Cong-PRP merger: A boon or bane? -Bhandaru Srinivas Rao


As expected, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), formed by the yesteryear 'mega star' Chiranjeevi, has finally decided to merge with the Congress party. Many analysts already anticipated this to happen, but no so soon. Well, whatever may be reasons behind Chiru to take such a decision in such jet-speed, yet many ponder whom it will benefit - the Congress or Chiru.

Speculations in media suggest that it was a conscious decision by Chiru to merge his year-and half year old party with the Congress. Questions that are flying around are; 'What prompted Chiru to take such a quick decision? Was he under tremendous pressure? Or was there some arm-twisting from the Congress party? Of course, answers to these and many other questions on PRP merger with Congress like to come out in course of time.

Like many, I too feel that after YSR's untimely death, the Congress had no charismatic leader in its ranks to draw crowds. Contrary to this the ground-swell support that their former Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy getting wherever he goes, has become cause of serious worry, to the party leadership at the Centre. For whatever reasons, the party leadership has taken a firm decision against accepting the demand of pro-Jagan lobbyists. This, inspite of majority of 156 MLAs carrying out a signature campaign in support of Jagan to be declared as successor to YSR, no sooner he died in chopper crash. The party high command apparently overcomes that chaos situation by forcing to toe their line. As a result, the young scion, who became restless, dared to go against the wishes of the party high command and draw his own political road map? Yet again, the humiliating treatment meted out by the party high command forced him to leave the party along with his mother, forcing by-elections.

Thus far, the party high command apparently scored a point or two in driving the frustrated young scion out of the party without dirting their hands. In spite of frequent warnings from the party high command as well Chief MInister, many legislators who owe their political career to YSR, defied and threw their weight openly behind the young scion, whenever he organized rallies on public issues like "Laksha deeksha" (Vijayawada), ' petro price hike' (Vizag), and "Jala deekash" (New Delhi). Jubilant over more and more legislators coming to his camp, Jagan even dare to declared in Delhi that the 'party is surviving in Andhra Pradesh at his mercy."

Perhaps, this had hit the roof of party high command to act tougher with Jagan, but lacked guts to take direct actions against those erring legislators, who defied the party directions, fearing fall of its 30-month-old government. Though the party was toying with the idea to seek some regional party support ever since it got just 'workable' majority in the assembly, could only intensify its efforts as 'precautionary measure' taking Jagan's veil threats seriously. The party high command had no other option, but to lure 'mega star's support, as he alone has some 'charisma' to attract crowds. None in the present state congress leaders enjoy such people support.

Having succeeded in roping in Chiru to party fold, now Sonia expects him revive the party. But, can he? This is the biggest challenge on hand to Chiru? Analysts hold different views on Chiru's capabilities to retrieve lost ground by the Congress in the state, after Jagan's exit from the party. Some of them even reasons that his 'social justice' slogan failed to work in 2009 elections and his efforts polarise the backward communities under the banner also gone for a six. Leave alone polarisation of backward communities, even his own community members appears to have not backed him to the extent he expected, if the Palakolu assembly result is any indication. Chiru failed to win from his native Palakolu assembly constituency in West Godavari district. What does it mean?

In that context, many feel the Congress high command, which had been fed with half-baked facts by some vested interests close to 10 Janpath, may as well result the so called national party losing yet another major state in coming months, if not early. Many analysts were of the firm opinion that the party high command's failure to take a firm decision either way on bifurcation of Telangana and handling of most ambitious young scion of YSR, certainly prove a death-knell to the party.

Though the immediate task given to the mega star is to ensure party nominees win the crucial byelections to Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendla assembly seats, the party high command also wanted him to ensure concrete polarisation of his community members in favor of the party. Is Chiru in a position to accept such a challenge? To me, it appears asking for too much. The most volatile and faction-ridden Kadapa had been backing YSR family for the past three decades. YSR never lost an election, either as MP or MLA from his native district. Taking the party high command to the enemy's turf is not a easy task cut-out to Chiru.

If he succeeds, then the state's political script will be different. Otherwise, it will prove a 'political suicide' not only to Chiru, but also the party high command. It can as well leave hopes on the state!(09-02-2011)