-M Bharath Bhushan & E Revathi

There is much talk of the bye elections and Telangana. Each party claims to be sure of successfully winning the seat or defeating the enemy. People wonder what they have to gain by giving once again the evidence of their concern. What would Sita have done if she was called to undergo the test of fire second time?

Telangana is a hot commodity. Every party wants a share in it and plans for mileage out of it. It is gaining greater currency and sooner or later the state is imminent, if the signals of changing times are any sign of the things to come. It may take another two years or more when elections come again for the entire state.

There is lot of heat now with the most unwanted thing happening inevitably- bye elections. Often bye elections are held if one vacates in favour some higher boss in one’s party or with the demise of the elected representative. But this bye election is thrust on people for “ideological” reasons and for “promises broken”. It is no referendum in any sense when every previous election was no referendum. Further bye elections to one constituency are no reason for a major move to act on for a separate state that concerns not just one constituency. Current drama is to be considered as rehearsals for the full fledged story in the making for the next general elections. Buying time, every political party, without exception, likes. It is the people who cannot afford to lose.

This election has made once again clear that politics in Andhra Pradesh are still a matter of few ‘dadas’-benign or otherwise- who think they can ignore people’s mandate and draw people for elections at will. Amusing exchange of dialogues by MS & KCR cannot be any reason.

Interesting drama

This election raises many ethical issues. Political parties worth anything in democratic structure need to answer their acts in regard to Telangana before they make any strategies and scheming to win or lose respectably. Now they are not contesting elections in entire state of AP but just one constituency. Clear prose in place of poetry is need of the hour.

The fight is interesting as it is prestigious for all the parties- big and small. Vidya Sagar Rao from BJP, KCR from TRS, equally ‘bigwigs’ from Cong-I and TDP add seriousness. More than one candidate from the dominant castes makes new pressures on the equations. There are two more actors of whatever significance- Lok Satta and Telangana Sangarsha Samithi.

Curiously Telangana is promised by Cong-I and BJP. Both these parties say they alone can give the separate state. These parties have to explain why they want “ransom” for such just act. They owe explanation why they deny or delay the separate statehood. How is it justified for BJP in negating separate state until they have to come to power? How fair is it to demand a price for implementing the promise of “one-vote-two-states” when Sri Ram took to van vas for the word given to the mother? Which ethics support Cong-I to ignore the promise they made for an “appropriate” time indefinitely and the assurance that several political parties have given in favour of Telangana statehood?

How Comrades speak of Consensus for a Divorce? Mutual agreement is basis for a marriage. How Communists have gained sudden consciousness of Telangana while all violations adversely affecting three crore people were forgotten will be questioned. When did comrades start preaching capitalist’s approval for freedom of the workers?

What made the TRS and Cong-I parties do and not do whatever they did all these thirty months and what was the pact that was the basis for the marriage or its breach needs to be explained at least now. This will be single most important achievement for the people if the contestants explain reasons why their parties have done whatever they have done till now with unambiguous evidence and documentary proof. What has been the understanding of TRS & Cong-I (separate state or a Second SRC), why the TRS agreed for consensus initiative by Cong-I and why the MS-KCR lovely duo has split now?

Many more issues require to be answered. The political parties today stand naked and unabashed of being deserting Telangana and lack moral right to approach people again if they cannot answer their miss-deeds or misdeeds and ensure proper and ethical behavior tomorrow. What people, who have no right but to elect every Tom, Dick and Harry whenever it is called for, expect is the truth of dirty politics of every political party’s love for Telangana. Important issue is that these parties cannot make mockery of democracy.

Actors in the game and the Moves to make

People will be amused by the way things unfold now. With the Chief of TRS contesting there is some seriousness for a change in the business of elections in this party. TRS is planning the act. Earlier TRS failed to plan and succeeded in losing miserably in local body elections. For good or bad the Chief of TRS is the contestant. So there is pressure to perform better. Some promises made years ago by the TRS will now be put into action. They include village squads, playing the bell (ghanta) and bringing youth and students into action among others. Old promises suddenly realized are likely to contribute favorably to building separate Telangana movement. The shift in mobilization will snowball and spread to entire Telangana in course of time.

Although TRS won this seat earlier with impressive majority it is going to be a Herculean task now. Cong-I which was the major ally is the most important rival today. TDP has already gained base in the district and Telangana since two years by mainly gnawing into TRS pockets. BJP fighting against the TRS, Cong-I & TDP candidates makes things more complex. Will Visaalaandhra comrades also field a candidate is not yet cleared.

Cong-I will be under pressure to explain that it has not let down the Telangana cause as they are fighting now in just one constituency known for Telangana ‘sentiment’. Cong-I will try exposing the hollowness of TRS. Old allies have to effectively clash against each other in a life-and-death fight. Cong-I has to also fight against BJP by exposing the double standards of BJP’s tilt for small states that stop at Telangana. Besides, it has to make a difficult game plan with the Communists. Congress will have to emphasize more that it’s a question of underdevelopment instead of internal colonialism of Andhra lobby.

BJP will have to explain how power to BJP is the prerequisite for separate Telangana. How BJP will steal the piece of cake from TRS without helping the Cong-I is the big question. Protecting image of its candidate and building the party base is the challenge.

TDP will have to focus on being the real development agency for Telangana as for any other region in AP. TDP will have to sharpen the apolitical philosophy that development is possible without splitting the party and the state. It has to also checkmate emerging Lok Satta that has same language and dreams of being a key player shortly in Delhi.

Communists will still have to play the old Visaalaandhra play that may not be palatable to the audience of KCR ‘stronghold’. Talking of Visaalaandhra in a constituency contested on Telangana issue is a difficult number to sing for the Comrades. Comrades will hopefully learn and earn a few lessons in this feat.

The possible political moves each contest will make reveal that it will have a mix of consequences for Telangana. That ethical and people oriented moves will make greater gains than the immediate winning or losing the bye elections, does not require any mention. People see all political parties coming to seek votes have failed in keeping their promises made earlier. This bye election is about Telangana and will have far reaching consequences to the separate statehood.

One cannot forget that elections bring someone from nowhere or throw into oblivion for reasons least known. Politics, especially the electoral game, is unpredictable at times.

Detrimental for separate Telangana
• Defeat of TRS candidate in the elections
• Personalized twist- KCR image becoming more important than Telangana issue
• Time lost in rhetoric than exposing traitors with evidence
• Telangana narrowed to TRS and making more forces into enemies to the cause
• Loss of the ethical forces and think tanks in the dog-eat-dog electoral politics

Favorable for separate Telangana
• Telangana issue to be discussed by one and all in Andhra Pradesh
• More promises with not-before-the-expiry-date excuses for giving Telangana separate (particularly BJP, section of MLAs from Congress-I)
• Clarify one’s stand on injustices to Telangana or underdevelopment of Telangana (CPI, CPM, Lok Satta, ruling Congress-I party, TDP)
• Pressure on TRS to perform seriously unlike in earlier elections to local bodies
• TRS shaping the shift from Delhi based lobbying strategy to movement oriented game plan and building the party for the challenge of the next phase
• May bring success to TRS with great to a simple majority