Special status: All parties are taking people for ride

Andhra Pradesh politics revolves around the special status. This is everybody’s slogan. Whenever Chandrababu takes the stage, he chants the same mantra. Jagan team also sings the same tune. Pawan Kalyan had already said that this is his tactic. Congress has announced that if it comes to power the first signature will be on special status. YSRCP Lok Sabha had already resigned over the issue. With the MPs submitting fresh resignation letters, the issue is back in focus. Media debates and war of words between TDP and YSRCP continue to create the noise. Both parties are promising that they will ensure special status. Both are accusing each other of doing the drama. They are fighting for something which doesn’t look practical. Those who understand national politics and predict future re-alignments say that special status to Andhra Pradesh will end as a mere slogan. They say that all are doing drama. They believe that all three possible options at the Centre after 2019 elections don’t look favourable to the special status.

Political analysts say that under the existing alignment of forces, there is no threat to BJP retaining power. However, it may not be in the current position of enjoying a majority on its own. It may have to step into coalition era by relying on support of others. According to one analysis, BJP may lose 80 to 85 of the seats it is currently holding. If this happens, BJP’s strength in Lok Sabha will come down to 200. For the remaining 70 seats, it will have to depend on allies. Neither TDP nor YSRCP will be able to extend support to BJP without linking it to the special status. The party in opposition in the state will be in better position to make use of this. Voters will decide whether the opposition party will be TDP or YSRCP. Due to political pressure from states ruled by BJP, the party under no circumstances will agree to give special status. If it had any such intention, it could have given the special status without distancing TDP. Such a demand is already there in BJP strongholds like Rajasthan, Bihar and Odisha. It will not be possible for BJP to agree to AP’s demand without doing justice to these states. That’s why even if the Lotus blooms, special status will only be a dream.

Congress which divided the state has announced that if it comes to power at the Centre its first signature will be for special status to AP. It is significant that Rahul Gandhi himself has made this announcement. This statement makes it clear that coming to power itself is a dream. Congress hopes that if BJP government tumbles it will win assembly elections in Rajasthan. Similarly it hopes to come to power in Bihar with RJD. Congress also has some hopes from Odisha. All these states are demanding special status. They are eligible due to parameters like backwardness, illiteracy and being border states. Leaving the states where it is strong, Congress appears to be over ambitious in hoping to protect the interests of Andhra Pradesh where it has no hopes of coming to power. That’s why this announcement should be seen as political statement. Rahul may have sympathy for Andhra Pradesh due to injustice meted out to the state but he too will be helpless.

Third front coming to power is like living in fool’s paradise. Nothing can be said with certainty about regional parties. Nobody can predict which party will leave the grouping when and which party will jump towards the big party (BJP, congress).

Biju Janta Dal in Odisha and RJD in Bihar are seeking special status for their states. Without them third front can’t be a reality.

Overall, no matter who comes to power among BJP, Congress and third front, post 2019 Andhra Pradesh’s hopes will be shattered. Currently all political parties are just having fun together. Telling people that if you give us 25 seats, the special status will come and we will rule the Centre is all humbug. It is the misfortune of Andhra Pradesh that all parties are playing up the issue to use people’s sentiments to come to power

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